Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2018, 07:35 GMT

Egypt: Prison sentence for insulting president removed but further reform needed

Publisher Article 19
Publication Date 8 August 2013
Cite as Article 19, Egypt: Prison sentence for insulting president removed but further reform needed , 8 August 2013, available at: [accessed 19 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes a new presidential decree that ends prison time for insulting the president, but is concerned about the increased fines, which contradict international standards.

"Monday's presidential decree to remove the punishment of prison time for insulting the president is a positive step for Egypt, but for freedom of expression to be fully enjoyed by Egyptians in general and the press in particular, a full review of all laws and regulations should be undertaken as soon as possible by the relevant authorities," said Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

The Egyptian Interim President, Adly Mansour, passed a decree on 5 August 2013 which ended prison sentences of up to three years for "insulting the president" but defined a minimum fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (US$1,430) up to a maximum of 30,000 (US$4,300).

"We welcome the removal of prison sentences for insulting the president but are concerned that this reform does not go far enough to bring Egyptian legislation into compliance with international standards, which stipulate that under no circumstances should defamation laws provide any special protection for public officials, whatsoever their rank or status, including the president. It is now well established in international law that such officials should tolerate more, rather than less criticism," Callamard added.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Egyptian interim government to amend or repeal all laws and regulations, including the Penal Code and the Press Law, which put limitations on the right to freedom of expression, especially those provisions that penalise criticism of public officials.

- See more at:

Copyright notice: Copyright ARTICLE 19

Search Refworld