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Egypt should drop charges against journalists' leaders

31 May 2016

The Egyptian authorities should drop the charges against the leaders of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate (EJS) who face accusations of "harbouring fugitives".

EJS president Yahya Qallash, vice president Khalid el Balshi and general secretary Gamal Abdulrahim were questioned by police in Cairo for 14 hours Sunday to early Monday morning about allegations of "harbouring fugitives in the union´s offices". Earlier this month, the police stormed the union´s headquarters and arrested journalists Omar Badr and Mahmoud al Saqa, accusing them of incitement.

A judge in Cairo on Monday 30 May granted EJS' leaders bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (1,000 USD) each but they refused to pay. As a result, the journalists will remain in jail for four days pending further investigations after which they may re-appear before the judge.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

"These are outrageous charges against the union and its leaders and should be dropped immediately.
"Falsely accusing press freedom defenders, charging them and sending them to prison can only happen in an oppressive police state and Egypt is behaving like one."

The IFJ  further renewed its international solidarity campaign with Egyptian journalists who are standing up for press freedom and union's rights in the country.

Tags: , egypt, egyptian journalists syndicate, journalists arrested, police, ifj, solidarity, journalists detained, press freedom, trade union freedom