A Cairo-based criminal court has sentenced former Editor-in-Chief of Al-Dostour newspaper Islam Afifi to a fine of EGP 10,000 and a temporary compensation of the same sum for committing libel against the Vice Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party and Shura Council majority leader, Essam El-Erian.
In response, El-Erian posted on Facebook, “Thank God. If those who committed the same crime do not apologise, we will sue them.”
Afifi was brought to trial after El-Erian sued him for an article published in Al-Dostour in June 2012 that suggested that secret meetings between Muslim Brotherhood figures – including El-Erian and Deputy Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood Khairat El-Shater – were held to plan violence should Ahmed Shafiq be announced the winner of last year’s presidential race, state-run news agency MENA reported.
The article claimed that if Shafiq had won, the Muslim Brotherhood would have had snipers shoot protesters on the streets, and planned on assassinating 300 public figures, including ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
While he was found guilty of libel against El-Erian, the court acquitted Afifi of additional charges, which included: sparking panic among the public, disturbing the public peace, and harming the public interest.
The prosecution said Afifi was publically spreading false information with malicious intent.
More media practitioners were put under the limelight, with investigations of Lamis El Hadidi and three others beginning on Monday. They are being accused of broadcasting recordings and documents that were attained illegally, documents that disturb public peace and national interests, MENA reported.
The investigations have been opened up as a result of an episode in which TV presenter El Hadidi alleged that the Brotherhood was exchanging phone calls with Hamas during the 2011 Revolution.