The head of Egypt's press syndicate Yehia Kalash said on Tuesday that an arrest warrant issued Monday against leading syndicate member Khaled Elbalshy for "insulting the police" has been dropped, and that the matter will be resolved without a probe.
"The arrest order has been cancelled because it was illegal in the first place, and the matter is now being settled between the syndicate and the [interior] ministry," Kalash told Ahram Online on Tuesday.
According to Egyptian law, authorities can only summon syndicate members for questioning through notifying the syndicate.
Kalash said he was informed of the cancellation of the arrest warrant by knowledgeable authorities, adding that a provincial judicial official said that the legal complaint did not identify Elbalshy as a journalist.
However, Elbalshy has asserted that the case, brought against him by an interior ministry official, is still in effect, saying that he could still "be subjected to investigations," without elaborating further.
He argues, nevertheless, that the main issue lies with "all [other] imprisoned journalists."
"It is a case of all those unjustly imprisoned and detained," he said. "Freedom of expression cannot be achieved without general freedoms."
The syndicate head said earlier this year that a total of 27 journalists remain behind bars in Egypt, with some sentenced to prison for publishing “false news” and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
El-Balshy, who is editor-in-chief of independent news website Al-Bedaiah, is known for advocating democracy and supporting freedom of speech and expression.
The arrest warrant against him came after a legal advisor to interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar filed a legal complaint against El-Balshy, accusing him of "libel and slander" against the ministry and of "insulting the police,” as well as “calling for the disturbing of public order and the overthrow of the regime."
An urgent meeting due on Tuesday that was called by the syndicate to discuss the matter will still be held, according to Kalash.