Egypt: Ending the imprisonment of journalists and media workers is an urgent demand in the run-up to the Climate Summit
Stockholm - Skyline International for Human Rights demands the Egyptian authorities to release detained journalists, lift restrictions imposed on them and end the policy of impunity for crimes committed against them.
In a statement released today, Saturday, Skyline says that holding the Climate Summit, which will take place in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 18, is an important opportunity to remind Egypt, which will allow hundreds of journalists to cover the event, that dozens of journalists are imprisoned in its gaols and that it is time to release them.
Skyline states that 40,000 participants are expected to attend the Climate Summit COP 27, including heads of state and government, princes and kings from 197 countries around the world. Skyline also stresses that in addition to the importance of the climate issue, there are also urgent issues related to the the environment of freedoms that must be constantly guaranteed, including the right of journalists to work freely without persecution.
Moreover, Skyline points out that the date of the summit comes four days after the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, which falls on November 2, to remind the international community of the need to end policies of abuse and serious violations against journalists and hold them accountable.
Journalists from around the world were supposed to arrive to cover the activities of this summit, but 57 journalists are missing from Egyptian prisons, while the security services continue to commit serious violations against journalists. Whether through arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, or physical and psychological torture, in addition to their years of detention on false charges and without fair trials, as well as closure of facilities and work restrictions, Skyline says.
Skyline stresses that all these violations continue without the Egyptian prosecution fulfilling its duty to monitor and hold accountable those involved in these violations and crimes, as the international community remains silent, which amounts to complicity.
In this context, Skyline points out that, according to human rights data, Egypt ranks third in the world in terms of the number of journalists detained in prisons and various detention centers. Thus, 57 journalists have been detained, 42 of them for years, most recently 61-year-old journalist Manal Ajrama, deputy editor-in-chief of Radio and Television magazine, who was arrested Nov. 1 at her apartment in the journalism complex in New Cairo and detained by Egyptian state security.
Skyline indicates that two journalists were sentenced to harsh prison terms, as 15 journalists received severe sentences, up to and including the death penalty, and other prison terms, as in the case of journalist "Ismail al-Iskandarani" and "journalist Ahmed Abu Zaid al-Tanobi," who were sentenced to 10 years in prison by a military court, according to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights.
Skyline calls on the international community to adopt appropriate pressure mechanisms to ensure Egypt's compliance with international human rights covenants, including freedom of journalistic expression, an end to the arbitrary detention of journalists, and accountability for violations.
At the end of its statement, Skyline demands the Egyptian authorities to take immediate decisions condemning the holding of the climate Summit, to release imprisoned journalists, especially those detained without trial, and to reconsider trials that lack the foundations of justice, and generally to ensure freedoms in the country.