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RSF call for immediate and unconditional release of Egypt blogger Mohamed Oxygen

An activist of France-based international non-governmental organization "Reporters sans frontieres" (Reporters without borders) takes part in fa demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy on February 4, 2011 in Paris, [MELANIE COSSIN/AFP via Getty Images]
An activist of France-based international non-governmental organization "Reporters sans frontieres" (Reporters without borders) takes part in fa demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy on February 4, 2011 in Paris, [MELANIE COSSIN/AFP via Getty Images]

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian blogger Mohamed Oxygen.

The call comes as part of a letter signed by several human rights organisations including the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression urging his release.

Mohamed Oxygen has been in detention since September 2019 when he was accused of "spreading false news that would harm the country and joining a banned group."

His arrest is apparently a reprisal attack for his blog, Egypt Oxygen. Egypt is one of the top jailers of journalists worldwide and has blocked hundreds of websites in its crackdown on free speech.

After 144 months of pretrial detention Oxygen was released but the Interior Ministry refused to implement the decision and he was recycled onto a new case.

On 20 December 2021 Oxygen was sentenced to four years in prison by the Emergency State Security Misdemeanours Court and fined 200,000 Egyptian pounds ($10,250).

Just six months before the sentence, which cannot be appealed, Oxygen attempted to commit suicide inside prison after being denied family visits.

READ: Amnesty: Egypt's human rights strategy paints misleading picture of human rights

There is a rise in the attempts of suicides in prison as detainees live in squalid conditions with little access to sunlight and suffer severe maltreatment by prison authorities.

Oxygen has spent most of his sentence in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison.

His lawyer was not told about the trial and so was not able to defend him and neither was he allowed to see a copy of their case files.

Emergency state courts were abolished last year after emergency law was not renewed for the first time since 2017.

However, even though they will no longer be used by the government, authorities announced that anyone who had already been referred to one before the end of the emergency law would still be tried in one.

Oxygen was referred to an emergency court less than two weeks before the end of the state of emergency along with 47 other individuals.

The letter comes as 12 human rights organisations launched an open petition to immediately and unconditionally release everyone detained for peacefully exercising their human rights.

READ: Egypt: Israel violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque 'dangerous escalation'

Categories
AfricaEgyptInternational OrganisationsNewsReporters Without Borders (RSF)
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