CAIRO: The Shayfenkom (we see you) movement and the Freedoms Committee in the press syndicate held a musical event at the press syndicate to support Ibrahim Eissa and Wael El-Ebrashy, two journalists being tried for articles they published.
We take these trials as a cause for celebration, congratulating one another since we re being tried by this undemocratic regime, says El-Ebrashy, one of the two journalists.
El-Ebrashy is being tried for publishing what s been called the black list. He published in Sout El-Omma newspaper the initials of the names of a group of judges who were monitoring polling stations that witnessed vote rigging, he says. The report demanded investigation in those cases.
El-Ebrashy s first session will take place Sept. 16, 2006.
Eissa, on the other hand, is being tried for being the editor of El-Dostour newspaper. A journalist in the paper published a report on an Egyptian citizen who had filed a lawsuit against President Hosni Mubarak to give back LE 3 billion to the people that he considers the people s right. A group of lawyers volunteered and filed a suit against the citizen, the journalist who published the report and Eissa.
The three were sentenced to one year in jail. The ruling was appealed and the first trial session will take place Oct.10, 2006.
Although the trials and the sentences are serious, the organizers, the attendees and the journalists awaiting trial were all in high spirits.
I want to stress that tonight s a glamorous celebration, not a political event, says Eissa. Using art for expression is like using literature for expression. The spirit of support from the people confirms which side the people are on.
The event started with a protest on the stairs of the press syndicate, surrounded by anti-riot police. The crowd held the Egyptian flag and a banner saying, With freedom against oppression. Try Ibrahim Essa’s and Wael El-Ebrashy s pens. The banner carried a drawing of a pen with wings attached, symbolizing free press. Some had the slogan pinned to their clothes.
Pictures of Eissa and El-Ebrashy were hanging on the walls behind the crowd.
Later, inside the syndicate, there was hardly any reminder of the armored vehicles and the anti-riot police surrounding the building outside.
The event started with a singing performance entitled Kastour by the band Hala. The performance was followed by three film screenings, including: “El Amn Motatteb (The security situation is stable) “Mesh Khayfeen (We re not scared) and “Odabaty (The writer).
El-Warsha, the band, followed the screenings. At the end of the evening, the band Eskenrella played songs of Sayyed Darwish and Sheikh Imam. Hazem Shaheen and Shady Mones, Eskenrella members, explained the reason they were performing at the event, saying We re here to support freedom of speech in general.
This is the beginning of a series of events we re organizing to support the two journalists, comments Bothayna Kamal, from the Shayfenkom movement. We ll attend the trial sessions and will continue in supporting them throughout their trials.