The undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations call on the Public Prosecutor to close Case No. 19 of 2022 (Cairo Appeal Investigations) involving four women journalists from Mada Masr, Lina Atallah, Rana Mamdouh, Bissan Kassab and Sarah Seif El-Din, drop all charges against them, and close the criminal case.
The four journalists were under investigation before the Appeals Prosecution Office in Al-Rehab City last Wednesday, 7 September. They were charged with “spreading false news that would disturb public peace and harm the public interest,” in addition to two charges of “insulting and defaming Mustaqbal Wattan (Nation’s Future) party representatives in Parliament, and using social media to cause disturbance.” Editor-in-chief Lina Atallah was additionally charged with creating a website without a license.
The Public Prosecution released the four Mada Masr journalists on a bail of 20,000 pounds for the editor-in-chief, and 5,000 pounds for each of the other three journalists.
The investigation came after hundreds of MPs and members of the Nation’s Future Party, which has a parliamentary majority, filed complaints against Mada Masr’s journalists, in the context of the website’s publication of a news story on 31 August about party leaders being implicated in “grave financial violations” by state regulatory agencies, which may lead to removal from their positions. Sources within the party were quoted for the story.
The undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations affirm their solidarity with the accused journalists, while renewing their call on Egyptian authorities to stop prosecuting journalists, immediately release journalists imprisoned for practicing their profession, lift the illegal block on independent press websites, and allow all media outlets to operate freely and without harassment.
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
- Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
- El Nadim Center against Violence and Torture
- Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
- Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies
- Egyptian Front for Human rights
- Committee for Justice
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