More journalists jailed in Egypt

Agence France-Presse
More journalists jailed in Egypt
New York-based media watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) rated Egypt as the third most dangerous country for journalists

CAIRO, Egypt – While two jailed Al-Jazeera reporters were freed on Friday pending a retrial, rights groups say at least nine more journalists still languish in Egyptian prisons.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were released nearly two weeks after their Australian colleague Peter Greste was deported under a presidential decree.

The three were arrested in late 2013 and sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail for aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood. An appeals court in January ordered their retrial.

New York-based media watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which in 2013 rated Egypt as the third most dangerous country for journalists after Syria and Iraq, says there are nine more media workers jailed in the country.

Separately, officials at Egypt’s press syndicate say at least 15 journalists are imprisoned.

Some are facing trial on several charges including rioting and belonging to a “terrorist organisation”.

Detainees also include citizen journalists arrested in police sweeps to quell protests backing ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Some prominent journalists held in Egypt’s prisons are:

• Mahmoud Abu Zeid, widely known as Shawkan

Abu Zeid, a freelance photographer who has worked for photo agencies such as Demotix and Corbis, is one of the longest-detained journalists in Egypt.

He was arrested on August 14, 2013 when hundreds were killed as security forces cleared two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

He has not been convicted of any crime. For some time Abu Zeid shared a prison cell with Al-Jazeera reporter Abdullah al-Shamy, who was also arrested on the same day but released in June last

• Ahmed Gamal Zeyada

Online journalist Zeyada, 23, was arrested on December 28, 2013 while covering clashes between Islamist students and security forces at the prestigious Sunni Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

Zeyada, who worked for Yaqeen News Network, is on trial with 76 students on several charges including torching the institution’s faculty of commerce building.

Six of the remaining seven jailed journalists worked for Islamist media that opposed Morsi’s ouster. 

Mahmoud Abdel Nabi, Sami Mustafa and Abdullah al-Fakharany reported for an online citizen journalism platform called Rassd. 

Mohamed al-Adly worked for Amgad television. 

Abdel Rahman Shahine worked for Freedom and Justice News Gate, affiliated to Morsi’s political party.

Ayman Saqr worked for Al-Mesryoon newspaper.

Ahmed Fouad worked for an online news website covering the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. – 

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