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Egypt's Journalists Syndicate voices concern over health of detained journalists

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Aug 2015
Youssef Shaaban
Egyptian journalist Youssef Shaaban (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Journalists Syndicate has expressed concern over the declining health of several detained Egyptian journalists, blaming the interior minister for the situation.  

The syndicates' liberties committee said in a statement on Wednesday that it has received multiple complaints from the families of journalists currently detained in the maximum security prison of Al-Aqrab in south Cairo.

"The syndicate demands that [the journalists] be admitted to hospital and that they are provided with proper health care," the statement read, adding that it holds the prison authorities and the interior ministry responsible for the detained journalists failing health.

The statement also called for better conditions for other imprisoned journalists who, it said, are subject to mistreatment.

The wife of Magdi Hussein, a leading member in an Islamist alliance supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi, said that her husband is in a "dangerous condition" and has been suffering from severe weight-loss after he was denied treatment for a long period of time.

Hussein was arrested in July last year on violence-related charges.

Prison authorities have also prevented doctors from providing necessary care for  journalist Youssef Shabaan who has been diagnosed with Hepatitus C, the statement added.

Youssef, a socialist activist, is serving a 15-month sentence for protesting without authorisation and attacking a police station in Alexandria during the rule of ousted president Morsi in 2013.

The liberties committee is due to hold a press conference later on Wednesday to discuss violations against detained journalists.

The conference will mark two years since the imprisonment of photojournalist Mahmoud Abou-Zeid, known by his nickname Shawkan.

Shawkan was arrested in August 2013 while covering the government's violent dispersal of a sit-in by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

A prison census conducted by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on 1 June said that at least 18 Egyptian journalists were imprisoned for reasons related to their reporting, the highest number since the CPJ began keeping records in 1990.

However, on Monday, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reiterated that no journalists are being held in Egyptian jails on crimes related to publishing, explaining that he cannot interfere in judicial matters.



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