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Rights groups call on Egypt to release veteran journalist Tawfik Ghanem

October 29, 2021 at 1:48 pm

Tawfik Ghanem, a retired journalist [free_ghanem/Twitter]

Eleven human rights groups have called on Egypt to release Tawfik Ghanem, a retired journalist who has been in jail for over 150 days on charges of spreading false news and terrorism.

Ghanem, 65, served as a regional director for Anadolu Agency before he retired in 2015. He was subject to forced disappearance on 26 May for five days, when he was questioned about his previous work at the Turkey-based news agency.

Since then, Cairo’s Supreme State Security Prosecution has been renewing his pretrial detention pending investigation on charges of spreading false news, misusing social media and terrorism.

The joint statement released yesterday asserted that Ghanem “is being denied access to adequate healthcare in prison or outside facilities for diagnosis and treatment.”

According to his family, Ghanem needed a medical checkup for a “suspected kidney tumour 50 days ago” as he also “suffers from diabetes, neuritis in his legs and knee, lower back problems, and an enlarged prostate that requires ongoing specialist treatment in a properly equipped medical facility.”

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The human rights NGOs called on Egyptian authorities “to stop their systematic crackdown on media freedom and halt the misuse of pretrial detention pending investigation on bogus terrorism charges to punish any criticism or dissent.”

The statement was signed by Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, Committee to Protect Journalists, Democracy for the Arab World Now, Egyptian Front for Human Rights, the Freedom Initiative, International Service for Human Rights, MENA Rights Group, PEN America, Project on Middle East Democracy, and Sinai Foundation for Human Rights.