Lawyers have decried the minister of interior’s statements on “condom pranksters” Shady Hussein and Ahmed Malik, claiming it constitutes incitement for violence against them.
During a Monday press conference, Egypt’s interior minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar commented for the first time on the case of the two young men, TV anchor Shady Hussien and actor Ahmed Malik.
The two published a video on social media, which quickly went viral, in which they distributed inflated condoms to police conscripts on the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.
“We’ll leave it to society to punish them,” Abdel Ghaffar commented, prompting remarks on the obscurity of the statement, and its intent.
Hussein commented on Abdel Ghaffar’s statement in a Facebook post, saying he was unsure whether the statement implied incitement or not.
He nonetheless suggested that this constitutes a threat that the ministry of interior would send plainclothes policemen to attack him. He added that the media had already accused them of being spies for the US and Israel.
Moreover, since the release of the video, both Hussein and Malik have been subjected to threats, accusations and insults from social media users, while two police officers released videos threatening Hussein with violence.
Hussein’s sister has previously alleged that informants have surrounded their place of residence.
Regarding whether or not Abdel Ghaffar’s statements constitute incitement, Hussein’s lawyer Tarek Al-Awady said: “The minister’s statement supports the threats Hussein received from police officers, which could result in his harm if he appears in public”.
Al-Awady further questioned if the minister was referring to ethical admonishment, or violent retaliation, calling on Abdel Ghaffar to further clarify his phrasing.
He confirmed that interior ministry’s role is to protect all people, including criminals, not to incite violence against them.
Another lawyer at the Association of Freedom of Thought and Express (AFTE), Mahmoud Osman, commented on the minister’s statement, saying it constitutes direct permission for people to commit violence against Hussien.
He added that if this were a society that respects personal rights, there would be official condemnations of the minister’s statement.
Osman moreover defended the video, saying that is a form of expression, the freedom of which is enshrined in the constitution. He said the minister supported the policemen’s threats, claiming that Hussein could be killed if he walks in the street.
Last week, Hussein’s sister and mother filed a demand to the prosecutor general, demanding that the minister of interior protect Hussein from violent police threats, according to AFTE.