Egypt: Call for release of photojournalist held on trumped-up terrorism charges

Egyptian photojournalist Mohammed Hassan has been in jail on trumped-up terrorism charges since September 2019. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns his detention and urges the authorities to immediately release him and all other imprisoned journalists in the country.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Credits: Don Emmert / AFP

Mohammed Hassan, a young photojournalist, suffered the harassment of the Egyptian regime since the beginning of his career. He was first arrested on charges of belonging to a terrorist group, spreading false information and calling for demonstrations.

Since the first detention, Hassan was released up to five times but the Public Prosecutor's Office systematically appealed against his release. He served two years in prison until his release in 2018 under severe and strict conditions.

However, Hassan was again arrested in September 2019 on the same charges: joining a terrorist group, spreading false information and misuse of social media.

His lawyers, Norhane Hassan Mustapha and Taha Attia Abu Nasr told the IFJ that “journalists in Egypt are victims of arrests and fierce repression by the authorities and their eventual release does not put an end to further prosecutions.

According to the same source, the journalist's family appealed to the Prosecutor General and the Minister of the Interior to release him and to drop all charges on him because of his physical and psychological health situation. During his detention, Mohammed Hassan was not granted any basic rights and visits to him were not allowed.

The situation of Hassan is not uncommon in Egypt. Egyptian authorities have a damning record of abusing journalists and muzzling press freedom. In recent months, the IFJ condemned the arrest of journalists Hossam El-Sayed and Solafa Magdy, who were accused of terrorist activities. This followed a string of arrests targeting journalists and activists, in October 2019. The IFJ has repeatedly called on the authorities to stop the repression of media.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The situation of media workers in Egypt is dramatic. We call on the international community to urge Egyptian authorities to stop immediately the crackdown on independent journalists. No journalist should fear imprisonment for reporting the news.

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