IPI urges Egypt to ex­plain jour­nal­ists’ de­ten­tions

Sunday Trust - - MEDIA -

The In­ter­na­tional Press In­sti­tute (IPI), a global net­work of ed­i­tors, me­dia ex­ec­u­tives and lead­ing jour­nal­ists for me­dia free­dom, has writ­ten to Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Abel Fat­tah el-Sisi, re­quest­ing him to pro­vide de­tails about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of jailed jour­nal­ists Mah­moud Abu Zeid and Is­mail Alexan­drani and to en­sure their re­lease.

In a let­ter sent last week, IPI ex­pressed great con­cern over the de­lay in re­leas­ing pho­to­jour­nal­ist Mah­moud Abu Zeid, who is known as Shawkan. On Septem­ber 8, the Crim­i­nal Court of Cairo sen­tenced Abu Zeid to five years’ im­pris­on­ment. The de­ci­sion meant that Abu Zeid should have been re­leased im­me­di­ately due to time served. How­ever, he re­mains be­hind bars and the gov­ern­ment has not ex­plained the rea­sons for the de­lay.

Abu Zeid was ar­rested in 2013 while cov­er­ing a protest at Cairo’s Rabaa Adaweyya Square and has been in prison since then. His ar­rest rep­re­sented a se­vere set­back for press free­dom in Egypt and his con­tin­ued de­ten­tion de­spite the re­cent court rul­ing now raises grave doubts about the rule of law in Egypt.

In the case of Alexan­drani, who has been in prison since 2015, there is no in­for­ma­tion avail­able about the progress of trial pro­ceed­ings be­fore a mil­i­tary court. On May 22 there were re­ports that Alexan­drani had been sen­tenced to 10 years’ im­pris­on­ment, which was later de­nied by mil­i­tary spokesper­son Tamer al-Ri­fai.

“We also re­main deeply trou­bled by the ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion of Al-Jazeera jour­nalis Mah­moud Hus­sein, who has been jailed for over 670 days with­out charge,” the let­ter added.

“There are many more jour­nal­ists lan­guish­ing in Egyp­tian pris­ons with­out charge. The lack of le­gal pro­ceed­ings im­plies that the gov­ern­ment has no ev­i­dence against these jour­nal­ists and is de­tain­ing them to si­lence in­de­pen­dent me­dia in the coun­try,” IPI Head of Ad­vo­cacy Ravi R. Prasad said in the let­ter.

The let­ter called for Mah­moud Abu Zeid, Is­mail Alexan­drani and Mah­moud Hus­sein to be re­leased with­out fur­ther de­lay and for the gov­ern­ment to make pub­lic the names of all other jour­nal­ists who are prison along with the rea­sons for their de­ten­tion. (IPI)

PHOTO:

Egyp­tian pho­to­jour­nal­ist Mah­moud Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, re­acts be­hind a fence dur­ing his trial in Cairo, Egypt July 28, 2018. REUTERSAmr Ab­dal­lah Dalash

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