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Members of Egypt’s press syndicate council condemn detention of journalists

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

Members of the Egyptian press syndicate’s council have rejected what they consider an attack on the freedom of the press, which has been manifested in the past several days in a series of incidents of arrests and preventive detention as well as prison sentences handed down to journalists.

Gamal Abdel Al-Rahim, Amr Badr, Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz, Mahmoud Kamel and Mohamed Kharajah – all members of the press syndicate’s council – issued a statement in which they condemned the arrest of journalist Mai Al-Sabbagh and photojournalist Ahmed Mustafa while they were working in the coastal city of Alexandria.

Sabbagh and Mostafa have been referred to prosecutors, who ordered their detention for 15 days pending an investigation into their case.

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The statement also lamented the arrest of another fellow journalist, Moataz Wadnan, who has been detained over an interview he conducted with Hisham Geneina, an aid of former chief of staff Sami Anan who himself was arrested after announcing his intention to run in the presidential election against the incumbent Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

According to the statement Wahdan was only carrying out his work as a journalist before he got arrested and detained in the notorious Scorpion prison in Tora, a maximum security facility housing political prisoners: “All these violations are taking place in a restrictive atmosphere” in which “all guarantees of the freedom of the press as stated in the constitution are being violated,” read the statement.

Freedom of press in Egypt - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Freedom of press in Egypt – Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]