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Egypt’s press syndicate issues formal complaint over conditions of jailed journalists

A number of imprisoned journalists in Al-Aqrab prison have gone on hunger strike to protest mistreatment

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Feb 2016
Journalists protest against the restriction of press freedom and demand the release of detained journalists in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo June 10, 2015 (Reuters)
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Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate has filed a complaint with the prosecution and the interior ministry criticising the mistreatment of a group of imprisoned journalists.

The syndicate, in a statement on its website, said that journalists in Al-Aqrab prison were housed in mouldy, poorly ventilated cells, and had not seen their allotted time for exercise decreased or cancelled altogether.

The syndicate didn’t give exact figures of the journalists in Al-Aqrab prison, who have declared hunger strike to protest their conditions.

According to the international Committee to Protect Journalists, Egypt was the "second worst" jailer of journalists worldwide in 2015, after China. In an interview with Ahram Online in 2015, syndicate official Khaled El-Balshy said that there were then 32 journalists in detention in Egypt, including 18 in cases related to their journalism. Between seven and nine were in dire need of medical care.

The Egyptian government has repeatedly denied that journalists behind bars have been arrested or detained as a result of their journalistic work, citing other charges against them. The authorities have also denied that systematic violations take place inside Egypt's prisons. 

The syndicate’s complaint urged an inquiry into the violations against journalists inside prison, and called for their conditions to be improved, for suitable healthcare to be provided, and for their families to be allowed to visit them.  

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