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Egyptian journalists suspend sit-in after some demands met

Ahram Online , Thursday 3 Mar 2016
Khaled El-Balshy
Egyptian Journalist Khaled El-Balshy (Photo: Ahram Arabic News website)
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A number of Egyptian journalists suspended their sit-in at the press syndicate headquarters in downtown Cairo after some of their demands cornering their jailed colleagues were met.

Khaled El-Balashy, head of the syndicate's freedom committee and a leading journalist who called for the sit-in, which started on Monday, told Ahram Online that they took the decision after they saw a response from the Ministry of Interior.

On Monday, the syndicate issued a statement listing several demands concerning the health conditions of some jailed journalists, especially Youssef Shaaban and Hesham Gaafar, whose lives were reportedly "in danger."

"I was informed that Gaafar will undergo a surgery next Wednesday after his release from prison to do some medical examinations, while Shabaan is currently undergoing examinations at a public hospital as a perquisite for setting up a medical treatment programme for him," El-Balashy said.

"Other jailed colleagues met with their families at the prison as they requested, while others met with security officials to listen to their complaints over the deteriorating state they are facing in their imprisonment," he said.

El-Balshy said that journalist Ibrahim El-Darawy was transferred from Mazret Tora prison to Leyman Tora prison as he had requested due to the worse conditions at the first prison.

At least 30 journalists in the country are currently imprisoned or detained pending trial on various criminal and misdemeanour charges.

The Egyptian government has repeatedly denied that journalists who are behind bars were arrested as a result of their journalistic work.

The authorities have also denied what rights activists describe as systematic violations against inmates inside Egypt's prisons.

"We have not decided yet whether we will be resuming the sit-in, as we hope that the status of our imprisoned colleagues improves," El-Balashy said.

"We are now requesting and negotiating for pardons for them," he added.

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