Seven Egyptian journalists remain in detention after Monday protest arrests: Syndicate

Zeinab El-Gundy , Tuesday 26 Apr 2016

The board of Egypt's press syndicate will hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday to discuss what they say are violations committed against journalists during Monday's protests

Journalists' Syndicate Headquarters, downtown Cairo (Photo: Mohamed Nada)

Seven journalists remain in detention on Tuesday after being arrested the previous day while covering anti-government protests, according to the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate.

"As far as we know seven journalists are still being detained by security forces," Khaled El-Balshy, the head of the syndicate’s freedoms committee told Ahram Online Tuesday morning.

Over 200 people were arrested across the country at demonstrations against the decision to acknowledge Saudi Arabian sovereignty over two Red Sea islands, according to rights campaigners. Security forces dispersed the demonstrations, including a rally in the Cairo district of Dokki, with teargas.

El-Balshy said that 43 journalists had been arrested in total on Monday during the 25 April protests against the Egyptian-Saudi deal to redraw maritime borders; most had been released by the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Five of those detained by security forces were foreign. Among them were French freelance journalist Jenna Le Bras, Danish freelance journalist Stefan Weichert, and Norwegian freelance journalist Harald Christian Hoff.

All detained foreign journalists had been released by Tuesday morning.

Among the local journalists detained on Monday during the protests were producer Mohamed El-Sawy and journalist Basma Mostafa from Dot Masr news website, reporters Ahmed El-Bardini and Mohamed Magdi of Al-Shorouk newspaper, correspondent Omar Abdel Nasser of ONA news agency, and reporters Hadi El-Desouki and Yahia Morsi of Al-Akhbar newspaper.

Syndicate ‘attacked’

According to a statement issued by the syndicate on Monday, Sisi supporters attempted to storm the syndicate building in central Cairo several times.

Members of the syndicate reported that they were barred from entering the syndicate building, a planned focal point for protests, as security forces had sealed off the surrounding streets to protesters.

Pro-Sisi demonstrators were however allowed to gather and celebrate Sinai Liberation Day, which fell on Monday, outside the syndicate building.

The syndicate board will hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday to discuss the violations committed against journalists as well the reported attacks on the syndicate's headquarters.

The syndicate also called on the prosecution to investigate all violations committed against journalists and photographers on Monday.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement on Monday criticising the detention of journalists and photographers during the protests and calling on the Egyptian government to release them all immediately.

CPJ has repeatedly criticised the detention and jailing of journalists in Egypt, describing the country as “one of the worst jailers of journalists.”

Egyptian authorities have repeatedly stated that no journalists have been targeted for their work, and that those in jail have been convicted of crimes under Egyptian law.

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