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Friday, 29 May 2020

Egypt journalists denounce colleague's jail sentence

On Sunday, a court sentenced journalist Youssef Shaaban, human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Masry and activist Loay El-Ahwagy to over a year in jail on charges of 'storming a police station'

Hala Safwat, Monday 1 Jun 2015
Protest Press Syndicate
A group pf Egyptian journalists while protesting against imprisonment of revolutionary youth (Photo: Hala Safwat)
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About 50 journalists gathered on Monday in front of their syndicate in downtown Cairo to protest a Sunday prison verdict against two activists and a journalist.

On Sunday, an Alexandria court sentenced journalist Youssef Shaaban, activist and human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Masry and poet and activist Loay El-Ahwagy to one year and three months in prison on charges of “storming” the city's El-Raml police station in 2013, during the rule of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

On the stairs of the Journalist Syndicate, peaceful protesters chanted revolutionary slogans such as, "The voice of the revolution is the voice of Mahienour".

During the protest, Khaled El-Balshy, head of the Journalist Syndicate and editor-in-chief of news website El-Bedaya, where Shaaban worked, told Ahram Online that he has supplied Egypt's prosecution with documents to support the claim that Shaaban was covering the 2013 clashes, not participating in them, but to no avail.

"We provided the Egyptian prosecution with all the needed documents to show that Shaaban was covering the news, but still he was accused of overthrowing the government."

El-Balshy described Sunday's court verdict as part of "restricting freedoms", and stressed that violations against journalists have recently been on the rise.

The protest ended shortly after a woman threw rocks and other missiles at the demonstrators while cursing and describing them as "traitors."

Protesters entered the building as a result before organisers decided to ended the demonstration. Police forces were present but did not interfere.

Attacks on protests by civilians have long been common in Egypt.

Shaaban, El-Masry and El-Ahwagy were convicted on charges of attempting to "overthrow a government" during a time when this government was headed by the Mislim Brotherhood, today a banned organisation, he said.

The case was filed by the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political party, which is also now outlawed.

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