The charges of libel and slander against leading press syndicate official Khaled El-Balshy must be dropped within 48 hours or the syndicate will take steps against the interior ministry, a syndicate board member said on Tuesday.
"The syndicate's board has started a permanent session until the issue is resolved and if the interior ministry doesn't waive the case, we will take escalation procedures," board member Gamal Abdel-Reheem told the press, calling on the interior ministry to ask the prosecution to drop the charges.
On Monday, the prosecution ordered the arrest of the prominent journalist, who is head of the freedoms' committee within the Journalists Syndicate, after a legal advisor to Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar filed a legal complaint against him.
The complaint accused him of "libel and slander" against the ministry and of "insulting the police” and “calling for the disturbing of public order and the overthrow of the regime."
The press syndicate said in a statement published on Tuesday that a board meeting will take place on Thursday to review the update of El-Balshy's case and decide the next step.
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.
According to the press syndicate, 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.