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Legalizing Exception

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Legalizing Exception

The Law of criminalizing the publication of courts session data.

 
 Whereas the established constitutional principle is the publicity of court sessions witnessed by citizens (the public) without discrimination, so that ; to allow the public opinion to follow what is going on in the cases of concern and its omission leads to nullity of the trial procedures and the judgment issued accordingly is null and all that unless the court decides the trials to be confidential in observance of public order or preserving morals, or the law determines the confidentiality of the trial for considerations it assesses, as is the case in the trial of a child as stated in the first paragraph of Article 126 of the Child Law promulgated by Law No. 12 of 1996.
  
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 Appeal No. 29653 of Judicial Year 67
 Criminal Chambers - Session 10/3/1998
 Technical Office (Year 49 - Rule 53 - Page 388)
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 It is forbidden in any way censorship, confiscate, stop, or close Egyptian newspapers and media. An exception may be imposed on them in times of war or public mobilization. A liberty deprivation is not imposed for crimes committed by means of publication or publicity. As for crimes related to incitement to violence, discrimination between citizens, or insulting the honor of individuals, the penalties for which shall be determined by the law.
  
 Article 71 of the Egyptian Constitution
  
Court sessions should be public, unless the court decides their privacy in observance of public order or morals, and in all cases pronouncing judgment should be in a public session.
 
Article 187 of the Egyptian Constitution
 

   
 The Law of criminalizing the publication of courts session data.
 
On December 16, 2020 AD, the Egyptian Government announced its intention to add a new article to the Penal Code, the text of which is as follow:
«Shall be punished by imprisonment for  no less than a year and a fine of not less than one hundred thousand Egyptian pounds and not exceeding two hundred thousand Egyptian pounds, or by one of these two penalties whoever copies, records, broadcasts, publishes or exhibits, words or pictures of the proceedings of a session designated for examining a criminal lawsuit during its session by any means; without the permission of its president judge, after the approval of the Public Prosecution, the defendant , the civil claimant, or the representatives of either of them, and a ruling is issued to confiscate the devices or other devices that may have been used in the crime, or what resulted from it, erase it, or execute it, according to the circumstances.
 
The Presidency of Ministers Council statement in this regard came to indicate that the proposed amendment came with the aim of preventing the media from filming the defendants  until a final ruling is issued in the cases in which they are judged in order to protect them, because the basic principle in human is innocence, and every defendant enjoys this basic principle until a final judgment is issued against him in a manner that gives him the right not to have any photo taken of him in a situation that makes him contempt or suspected.

   
 Report Methodology
  
In its methodology, this report relied on sources by the Presidency of Ministers Council announcements and media statements regarding proposed amendments to the Egyptian Penal Code regarding the transmission and filming of the proceedings of the sessions in the criminal courts in Egypt.
 
In its vision, the report relied on the proposed amendments in addition to the Egyptian Constitution and the principles of the Supreme Constitutional Court, as well as the principles approved by the Egyptian Court of Cassation, in addition to the Articles of the Egyptian Constitution in its latest amendments - in addition to The International Agreements and Conventions.
 
The report also dealt with the proposed amendments through two main axes that intersected with them, which are:
-         Freedom of the Press and publication, and the circulation of information and data, 
-         In addition to the right to a fair and adequate trial.

  
 Introduction
Without any warning and without any introductions, the Council of Ministers declared its adoption of a legislative amendment by adding a new Article to the Egyptian Penal Code providing imprisonment for a period of up to one year and a fine of up to two hundred thousand Egyptian pounds for any one filmed, recorded, broadcasting, publish or display words or pictures of a proceeding session devoted to hearing a criminal case while it is held, by any means; Without permission from its president.
 
Through this report, we will review the proposed Article, the reasons and the legislative need that prompted the Egyptian Government to expedite the preparation and announcement of this proposed law.
The Article also will be dealt through two axes that contradict with them, and their contradiction is with the Egyptian Constitution explicitly, which forbade liberty-depriving penalties in publishing cases, in addition to the contradiction with well-established constitutional principles that the origin in trials is being public and that the violation of this principle is the exception and Not the opposite.
Accordingly, this report will be divided into three axes:
The First Axis: publicity of trials is an original guarantee of the right to a fair trial.
The Second Axis: legislation contrary to the constitution
The Third Axis: the national legislation governing the publication of trial facts.

   

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