Seven human rights organisations have called for the immediate release of journalists, media workers and activists detained for exercising their right to express their opinion on news articles and social media. The signatories call on the Egyptian authorities to stop using terrorism charges to prosecute those who criticise the government.
Among the journalists currently in jail, several suffer from health problems and need appropriate medical care. In May this year, the IFJ expressed its concern about the fate of Tawfiq Ghanem, a retired Egyptian journalist arrested on 21 May 2021 on charges of allegedly joining a terrorist group. The IFJ is also concerned about the health of journalist Rabie el-Sheikh, who worked as a producer for Al Jazeera. His health has deteriorated in the past days after a year in solitary confinement, reports the Qatar-based network. El Sheikh was arrested in August 2021 in Cairo Airport on a visit to his family and accused of allegedly spreading false news. The Egyptian authorities have renewed his detention by 45 days holding him incarcerated without trial or charge for a year.
“These detentions are part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests of Egyptian journalists, activists, academics, and critics” says the IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellanger. “The Egyptian authorities have turned the country into the biggest prison for journalists in the region. We urge the Egyptian authorities to stop targeting the press and release all arrested journalists without delay.”