Egypt: Skyline expresses concern over continued detention of 47 journalists and condemns escalation of violations of freedom of opinion and expression
Stockholm - Skyline International for Human Rights calls on the Egyptian authorities to end the "political revenge" against its journalists and opinion activists by extending their detention even though they have exceeded the pre-trial detention period set by law. It stresses that their continued detention violates both the Egyptian constitution and the rules of international law and is unjustified.
In a statement released today (Tuesday), Skyline says it is seriously following the Egyptian prosecution's ongoing decisions to detain many journalists - 47 at the end of February - who have been arrested and tried on political grounds.
Skyline points out that media freedom in Egypt experienced a serious decline last month, as 31 violations were recorded, most of which were committed by courts and prosecutors (20 violations). Violations in prisons (5 violations), followed by arbitrary administrative decisions (3 violations), the number of journalists behind bars reached 47 journalists at the end of the month.
According to the families of the detainees, the journalists and hundreds of political prisoners in Badr Prison were subjected to serious violations as they were deprived of their basic needs and inhumane practices were used against them.
At the same time, the courts continue their violations against journalists by continuing arrests and trials that violate international agreements signed by Egypt. This is especially true for a number of journalists who have exceeded the maximum period of pre-trial detention set at two years and have spent their third or even fourth consecutive year in prison, including "Bahaa El-Din Nematallah," "Hisham Abdel Aziz," "Mohamed Saeed Fahmy," "Mustafa Al-Khatib," and "Hamdi Mukhtar Al-Zaim." This despite the lack of evidence in the case, ".
For its part, Skyline stresses that what happened to the journalists in Egypt clearly contradicts Article 54 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states “Personal freedom is a basic inviolable right, and with the exception of the case of flagrante delicto, no one may be arrested, searched, imprisoned, or restricted in any way except by a reasoned judicial order necessitated by the investigation. The same article also states that "Anyone whose freedom is restrained must be informed immediately of the reasons, his rights in writing, enabled to contact his family and lawyer immediately, and be presented to the investigation authority within twenty-four hours from the time of restraining his freedom."
Skyline concludes its statement by calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the journalists, cease all violations of their fundamental rights, and allow them to live their normal lives without threat or persecution. Skyline stresses the importance of the international community, led by the United Nations and the European Parliament, exerting pressure on the Egyptian authorities to end the ongoing detention of journalists, political and human rights activists.