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Stockholm- The international human rights foundation Skyline calls on the Egyptian authorities to reconsider their restrictive policy towards content published on websites after they decided to block the website of Al-Manassa newspaper without giving any legal reasons. It stresses that such practices constitute a serious violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and rules of publication that are guaranteed by international law.

Sunday, Skyline points out that Egyptian authorities blocked the website of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Manassa last week after it published an article titled "How the President of the Republic will be indicted and put on trial" by the former MP, "Ahmed Al-Tantawi". In the article, Al-Tantawi demanded that to enact law amendments to investigate senior state officials if the constitution or the law is violated.

Skyline highlights the newspaper's statement, which said, "The platform's website was blocked in Egypt for the 13th time since the country began blocking independent press websites in 2017." This blocking, which is prohibited by the Egyptian constitution, is done without legal basis and without any official or security authority clearly taking responsibility, as all previous times. What is new this time is that the blocking includes not only the domain name, but also access to the platform's server at the hosting company.

In turn, the human rights foundation stresss that the recent blocking decision is not the first of its kind, as the Egyptian authorities used blocking as a means to restrict independent websites, human rights organizations and opposition voices alike since May 2017 until today. It indicates that the figures issued by several independent human rights organizations showed that the number of blocked websites in Egypt has reached more than 600, including 100 news websites.

In his article published on the newspaper's website, former MP Ahmed El-Tantawi said, "I have prepared a draft law that regulates the investigation procedures, impeachment and trial of high-ranking state officials, including the president of the republic, if they violate the constitution or the provisions of the law." He added, "The highest interest of the nation requires limiting the exercise of the broad powers of the President of the Republic so that he does not perform his job duties without accountability while in office or face accountability that is not serious after he voluntarily leaves office or is involuntarily removed from office."

Skyline further stresses that international law guarantees freedom of opinion and expression without restrictions or limitations, including the provisions of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This articles stipulates that " Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

Skyline concludes its statement by condemning and rejecting the decision of the Egyptian authorities to block the website of the "Al-Manassa" newspaper, calling on them to revise their decision and reactivate the website, and to advocate compliance with international legal rules regarding freedom of opinion, expression and publication. It also demands the authorities to stop the repeated practice of restricting content for political considerations and to ensure that individuals, journalists, and opposition figures can freely express their opinions.