Egypt's press syndicate leaders released on bail, to stand trial on Saturday

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 May 2016

Head of Egypt's press syndicate Yehia Qalash (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Three board members of Egypt's press syndicate were released on Monday after their EGP 10,000 bail was paid anonymously against their will, as the prosecution decided that they will stand trial on Saturday.

Syndicate head Yehia Kalash, its Secretary-General Gamal Abdel-Reheem and undersecretary Khaled El-Balshy refused to pay bail as the law does not require that bail be paid on one of the charges; spreading false news.

They also refused to pay bail after the prosecution rejected a request by Kalash to task a judge with looking into the case, a statement by the Journalists Syndicate read.

The syndicate issued a statement following an urgent meeting held late Monday denouncing the anonymous payment of the bail, saying a call for an urgent general assembly will be considered.

Kalash, Abdel-Reheem and El-Balshy were questioned late Sunday in Cairo's Kasr El-Nil Police Station where they spent the night after refusing the pay the bail.

The trio are facing charges of spreading false news by publishing that over 40 policemen stormed the syndicate early this month to arrest two journalists, an incident that has left the Journalists Syndicate and the interior ministry at loggerheads.

The prosecution is also charging them with sheltering fugitives; journalists Mahmoud El-Sakka and Amr Badr.

El-Sakka and Badr were arrested on 1 May in an unprecedented move where police stormed the syndicate headquarters in Cairo, syndicate board member Karem Mahmoud told Ahram Online.

The prosecution, according to Mahmoud, said only a handful of policemen entered the syndicate's headquarters in downtown Cairo. Both El-Sakka and Badr were also wanted for spreading false news.

The two journalists, who run the progressive 25 January news portal, were among many ordered arrested ahead of the 25 April protests against the Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea island maritime border agreement in April.

Correction: Ahram Online had reported that the prosecution ordered Kalash's detention. The prosecution had ordered Kalash to pay bail, which he refused, and he is being held at Kasr El-Nil Police Station until the prosecution decides further on the matter.

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