Egypt: IFJ calls for release of all imprisoned journalists

Following the arrest of photojournalist Mohammed Fawzi on Monday 16 May, a total of 26 journalists remain imprisoned in Egypt, according to the IFJ. President Abdelfatah El-Sisi announced in April the relaunch of the "Presidential Pardons Committee'', tasked with reviewing the cases of prisoners and recommending their release, but this latest arrest renders the president's initiative meaningless. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Egyptian authorities and the Presidential Pardon Committee to release the imprisoned journalists.

President of Egypt - Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Copyright - Dimitris Papamitsos)

Fawzi was arrested on 12 December 2018 and accused of undermining national security, he was kept in detention until 19 February 2020 when the charges against him were dropped.

The IFJ is also concerned about the fate of Tawfiq Ghanem, a retired journalist arrested on 21 May 2021 on charges of joining a terrorist group, who needs urgent health care.

The detentions are part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests of Egyptian journalists, activists, academics and critics. Twenty five other journalists are imprisoned in Egypt. All of them were arrested from 2015 onwards and fifteen of them were accused of belonging to a terrorist group or spreading false information.

Most of these journalists are in prolonged and indefinite pre-trial detention. This is the case of Hisham Fouad, who has been detained since 25 June 2019. Some of these pre-trial detentions have been extended beyond the maximum period allowed by Egyptian law.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "All of these journalists have been subjected to procedural irregularities, including denial of access to their lawyers, excessively long pre-trial detention, denial of medical care and non-compliance with judicial procedure. Tawfiq Ghanem and the other 25 journalists must be released immediately".

For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Find the Middle East and Arab World IFJ regional office on Twitter (in Arab): @IFJ_AR