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Egypt interior ministry withdraws legal complaint against press syndicate official Elbalshy

On Tuesday, prosecutors also dropped charges ElBalshy 'insulted police and advocated the overthrow of the regime'

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Apr 2016
Khaled Elbalshy

Egypt's interior ministry has dropped its accusations against Khaled Elbalshy, a leading member of the press syndicate,  the syndicate has said.

"The interior ministry sent a request to the general prosecutor on Wednesday to withdraw its legal complaint against [Elbalshy] following talks with the press syndicate," the syndicate said in a statement Wednesday.

"The ministry stressed it respects the syndicate and the important role journalism plays in defending Egypt and freedoms at such an important period in Egypt's history," the statement added.

The move came a day after the union's board warned it would take action if the ministry's complaint against ElBalshy were not withdrawn.

On Tuesday, prosecutors rescinded an arrest warrant they issued a day earlier for Elbalshy based on the ministry's legal complaint.

A legal advisor to Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar had filed a complaint with the prosecution against Elbalshy, 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."

Elbalshy, who is editor-in-chief of independent news website Al-Bedaiah, is a well known advocate of freedom of expression and journalists' rights.

"Defending the freedom of all of us will remain the main battle … the case is about each imprisoned journalist … each one who has been unjustly detained or imprisoned in this country," Elbalshy said on his Facbook account following the interior ministry's decison.

"The issue is about combating injustice, fabrication, torture, forced disappearance, violations of freedoms and tyranny," he added, in reference to violations blamed on Egyptian police.

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