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Egypt detains almost 100 journalists

Journalists take part in a protest outside the Syndicate of Journalists in Cairo, Egypt (AFP/File)

Almost 100 Egyptian journalists and media personnel are being held in prison by the authorities in Cairo, a new report has revealed.

“The Egyptian authorities started 2017 with several violations during the first month,” said the Arab Media Freedom Monitor. “Twenty-eight journalists and media workers were added to the list of ‘terrorist entities’ and their assets were seized.” Furthermore, the group noted, they were banned from travelling even though they have not been brought to trial, which means that they have had no chance to defend themselves.

According to the report, there were 112 violations against journalists in January, which means that even more systematic repression against the press and journalists has been happening since the 2013 coup. In January, eight journalists were detained while only three journalists were released; there are now 97 journalists behind bars in Egypt.

Read: Law used to imprison Egyptians draws scrutiny

The group highlighted the case of Hussein Abdel Halim, a journalist for Al-Dustoor newspaper. He was sentenced to three months in prison and a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds on charges of spreading false news about the interior ministry. A further four journalists from Al-Badeel newspaper were also imprisoned.

Whilst documenting cases of abuse against detained journalists, the monitoring group pointed out that one of them, Hamdi Mukhtar, has suffered a stroke in prison which has left him speechless and paralysed.

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