Egypt's Journalists Syndicate welcomes recent presidential pardons, calls for release of 24 journalists

Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Aug 2023

Expressing appreciation for recent presidential pardons granted to prisoners of conscience, the Egyptian Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee called on Sunday for the release of 24 detained journalists, including Karim Asaad.

Journalists Syndicate
File Photo: Egypt s Journalists Syndicate. Al-Ahram

 

According to a statement by the syndicate on Sunday, Asaad -- arrested on Saturday early morning -- is an Egyptian journalist and a member of the editorial team of Matsada2sh, an Egyptian media and news company that verifies material posted online.

The committee called on security agencies to disclose the whereabouts of Asaad, whose arrest brings the count of detained journalists to 24, including nine syndicate members.

In a separate statement on Saturday, the syndicate’s committee applauded the presidential pardons extended to prisoners of conscience.

Most recently, 31 detainees, including the political activist Ahmed Douma, were released.

Since launching the National Dialogue and reactivating the Presidential Pardon Committee in April 2022, El-Sisi has granted presidential pardons to over 1,400 pretrial detainees.

“We hope for this initiative to progressively encompass all individuals detained for expressing their thoughts, especially detained journalists, and particularly our female colleagues who are grappling with health issues warranting their release,” the syndicate said on Saturday.

The syndicate says it is paramount to reiterate our demand for an expeditious amendment of the pretrial detention law to resolve this issue and forestall the detention of any new journalists.

The National Dialogue’s General Coordinator, Diaa Rashwan, stressed in May that the issue of pretrial detention would be at the top of the human rights discussions’ agenda during the sessions.

On Thursday, following submitting the first batch of proposals to President El-Sisi yielded from the dialogue, Rashwan said the dialogue's agenda in the coming period would cover various topics, including revisions to pretrial detention laws, inflation and rising prices, and youth empowerment in the political sphere.

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