Howayda Taha Matwali
A producer for Al Jazeera's documentary channel, Howayda Taha Matwali was arrested by Egyptian policy on January 8, 2007, at Cairo International Airport. Her bags were searched and tapes for a documentary on Egyptian torture were found with scenes re-enacting such event. On January 13, 2007, Ms Matwali was indicted by Supreme State Security Court prosecutor Hisham Badawi on charges of "harming the national interest" and "fabricating images prejudicial to the country's reputation."
Though she was released on bail the following day, authorities announced on January 27, 2006, that they would indeed go forward with their intention to try Ms Matwali with those charges.
Search thousands of Toronto Real Estate listings now! Ms Matwali's arrest at this time is most distressing, and indicates that Egyptian authorities intend to continue the ongoing policy of arresting journalists and others who speak out against torture. Torture victim Imad al-Kabir was also jailed and arrested after news media popularized his story of being sodomized by prison officials with a broomstick.
In this case, Ms Matwali's documentary has not even aired on any television channel or been reproduced in the media. She is being punished for her intention to draw attention to these crimes in an effort to prevent them from occurring. The Egyptian government has decided to silence her voice and others like it, rather than crack down on abusive police and prison officials who torture prisoners.
Please help spread awareness regarding the case of Ms Matwali, and all of those who are languishing in Egyptian prisons for criticizing state use of torture by contacting one of the listed contacts below.
- Authorities decide to try Al-Jazeera producer on charge of "harming national interest" -[Reporters Sans Frontieres]
- Interior Ministry Accuses Al-Jazeera Producer of Harming Public Interest - [The Daily Star, Egypt]
- Covering up torture is the crime; accusations leveled against al-Jazeera journalist are illegal - [Arabic Network for Human Rights Information]
- Al-Jazeera producer charged with harming Egypt's national interests - [Committee to Protect Journalists]
- Egypt 'terrorizing' media with al-Jazeera arrest