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Egyptian Reporter Jailed for Libel

March 24, 1998

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An Egyptian journalist has been jailed for libeling a noted writer and legislator, the reporter’s wife and police said Monday.

Police detained Gamal Fahmy, a reporter for the leftist weekly newspaper Al-Arabi, as he walked to a relative’s apartment late Saturday, his wife, Mona Salem, told The Associated Press.

Police confirmed that Fahmy had been imprisoned but gave no details.

Fahmy, who is also managing editor of the opposition newspaper Al-Dustour, was sentenced in 1996 to six months in prison for describing writer and legislator Tharwat Abaza as a British sympathizer.

Abaza had written that a British, French and Israeli attack on Egypt in 1956 came after provocations by Egypt’s president, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Last week, an appeals court upheld Fahmy’s conviction and sentence.

Fahmy’s jailing comes amid what critics describe as a crackdown on the independent and opposition press in Egypt.

On Feb. 24, Magdi Hussein, chief editor of the opposition newspaper Al-Shaab, and reporter Mohammed Hilal were each sentenced to one year in prison at labor for libeling the sons of a former interior minister. Both were jailed in March.

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