Two Egyptian journalists face trial for ‘defaming judges’

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Two journalists working for an independent newspaper are to stand trial for “defaming” judges in an article published in 2012, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported on Monday.

Al-Masry Al-Youm’s former managing editor Magdy al-Gelaad and reporter Mohamed Senhuri are to appear before a criminal court for “publishing defamatory information,” after a complaint filed by the influential Judges’ Club.

In an article in the newspaper on January 15, 2012, the two quoted Hisham al-Genina, then president of the Court of Appeal in Cairo, as charging that a Judges’ Club election lacked transparency.

Genina, who is now president of the public Central Auditing Organization, has also been referred to trial, MENA reported.

The trial, for which a date has not yet been set, comes as the committee drafting a new constitution gave its initial approval of an article barring journalists from being jailed for their reports.

The new constitution is to be adopted through a referendum expected to be held in December.

Egypt’s constitution was suspended when the army removed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi from power on July 3.

Since October, three Egyptian journalists have already been convicted by military courts, stirring concern among human rights organizations and media watchdogs.

Two of them have been sentenced to six-month suspended jail terms for photographing or visiting military sites without authorization in the Sinai peninsula bordering Gaza.

The third has been sentenced to one year in prison for impersonating an army officer.

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