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CPJ welcomes release of 2 journalists, calls for release of 23 other jailed reporters

Egyptian journalist Mohamed Salah talks on the phone in Cairo following his release from the police station in al-Abassya district, on April 24, 2022 [MOHAMED EL-RAAI/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian journalist Mohamed Salah talks on the phone in Cairo following his release from the police station in al-Abassya district, on April 24, 2022 [MOHAMED EL-RAAI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Committee to Protect Journalists has welcomed the release of Egyptian journalists Mohamed Salah and Abdo Fayad but called on the Egyptian authorities to release 23 other reporters still in prison.

"We are pleased that Salah and Fayed are getting some relief after their unjust and prolonged detention, but there must also be justice for the many other journalists being held in Egypt's jails," said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator, Sherif Mansour.

"The Biden administration and other US officials should continue to hold President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's feet close to the fire if he doesn't deliver on reforms."

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

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

Mohamed Salah was detained for over two years without trial and was tortured and beaten inside prison. The two journalists he was arrested with, Solafa Magdy and Hossam El-Sayed, were released earlier this month.

Abdo Fayed was arrested and forcibly disappeared for five days in 2020 after he wrote a Facebook post criticising the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The two reporters were among 41 people who were released over the weekend after Al-Sisi announced the country needed to engage in political dialogue.

It's believed that the Egyptian government is under pressure to improve its human rights image after the death of prominent economist Ayman Hadhoud in state custody hit international headlines.

Images of Hadhoud's body have been analysed by Amnesty International who said that marks on his forearms and face indicate he was injured repeatedly before he died.

The US has made a portion of US military aid to Egypt conditional on improving its human rights record. Coupled with a failing economy, this has pushed Cairo to make some efforts to release prisoners.

Egypt is the third worst jailer of journalists worldwide according to the CPJ who says that at least 25 are still imprisoned in retaliation for their work.

READ: Calls for Egypt to stop politically motivated executions

Egypt is 166 on the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, the Arab Observatory for Media Freedom says that there are 70 journalists currently detained in Egypt's prisons.

Last week Egyptian security forces arrested journalist Safa Al-Korbiji after she published a video criticising the entry of Israelis into Sinai.

On 16 April journalist Ahmed Al-Bahey was arrested from his home at dawn and accused of "inciting violence." Al-Bahey covers social issues and human-interest stories in Monufia for the Egyptian news website Masrawy.

At the end of March, a court in Cairo renewed the detention of two Al Jazeera journalists whilst their colleagues Ahmed Al-Majdi and Rabie Al-Sheikh are also detained.

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AfricaAmnesty InternationalCPJEgyptInternational OrganisationsNews
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