Calls upon Egyptian Government to Protect Journalists, Free Press Rights
Washington, D.C. – The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) expresses its deep concern over reports that Egyptian journalist Abdullah Elshamy is facing a significant deterioration of health after being on hunger strike for more than 100 days. He was arrested while covering protests last August and has been detained without charge since then. Elshamy was removed from his prison cell earlier this week and is reportedly being held in solitary confinement in Tora prison. TIMEP condemns the unjustified detention of Elshamy and other journalists as well as the ongoing crackdown on press freedom in Egypt.
The persecution of journalists in Egypt is, regrettably, an ongoing trend. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 17 journalists were imprisoned in Egypt as of late April. Despite a promise by Egypt’s interim president in March to “spare no effort to work towards the speedy resolution of the case” involving three Al Jazeera journalists, they, like Abdullah, remain in prison. The detention of journalists and painfully slow pace of adjudication contribute to a very dismal portrait of overall press freedom in Egypt. In 2013, Egypt’s press freedom ranking changed from “partly free” to “not free,” joining the ranks of countries such as South Sudan, Jordan, and Iraq.
TIMEP calls upon the Egyptian government to uphold its international and constitutional legal obligations to protect free press and due process rights by allowing journalists to do their jobs freely, without risk of arrest, and by affording Elshamy and other journalists who are unfairly or arbitrarily detained their full legal rights, in keeping with international standards.
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The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of democratic transitions in the Middle East through analysis, advocacy, and action.