CAIRO: The Cairo prosecution will interrogate the chief editors of two independent newspapers Sunday for publishing the details of an investigation into a major bribery case.
The head of State Council had earlier this week filed a complaint before the Public Prosecutor against Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Youm Al-Sabe’ newspapers for publishing the transcript of the State Security Prosecution’s memorandum on the case in which two counselors and a businessman were involved.
The two journalists who wrote the reports will also be questioned by the prosecution.
In his complaint, Counselor Mohamed El-Husseini accused both newspapers of having a “severe impact on the status and prestige of the State Council….and the Judiciary” in general.
He called for taking the necessary legal procedures against the two publications.
“The ones who infringed the esteem of the Egyptian judiciary were the judges who accepted the bribes,” Al-Youm Al-Sabe’ Editor-in-Chief Khalid Salah argued.
According to El-Husseini, publishing the details of the case “contradicts the prosecutor’s decision not to transfer (it) to the criminal tribunal and refer the defendants to the disciplinary court” instead.
“Our defense is based on a simple fact; the prosecution in its memo did not ban publishing,” Salah told Daily News Egypt.
“We chose not to publish the documents we had before the end of investigations so as not to influence the case. We only released the details after the two counselors had already received a disciplinary verdict,” Salah added.
In his recent editorial, Al-Masry Al-Youm Editor-in-Chief Magdy El-Gallad, said addressing El-Husseini: “It is unprofessional and ethically irresponsible to hide what we know or to mislead the public opinion, fearing [trial].”
“As long as the bribery case was handled by the prosecution….[publishing information on it] had no effect on investigations. It rather acquitted hundreds of honest judges…in an age when justice is precious…and temptations are hard to resist,” El-Gallad wrote.
The case dates back to 2008 when businessman and Shura Council member Mohamed Farid Khamis was accused of bribing two counselors to alter the course of lawsuits he filed against a number of ministries to be in his favor.
Khamis, a billionaire, is the owner of Oriental Weavers Carpets group and co-owner of the British University in Egypt.
The disciplinary court found the two counselors guilty. One counselor was laid off from his judiciary post and transferred to an administrative position while the other resigned.
No legal action was taken against Khamis, either, since the case did not go to criminal court.
“When we published [the case details] we had the intention of exposing how some people have come to think they can control everything in Egypt with money,” Salah noted.
“On the other hand, the judiciary has always been capable of cleansing itself of any negativity,” he concluded.