May 20, 2014
To presidential candidates Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabahi:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express its deep concern about the state of press freedom in Egypt. Since the organization was founded in 1981, journalists in Egypt have never been under greater threat of assault, imprisonment, or even death, CPJ research shows.
At least 10 journalists have been killed in the line of duty since 2011, including six since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi last year. These numbers are all the more shocking given that only one journalist was killed in Egypt in the two decades before 2011.
There has been a similarly alarming escalation in the number of imprisoned journalists in Egypt. Only two years ago, no journalists were in prison in your country. Now, with at least 16 journalists held behind bars in relation to their work, Egypt ranks among the five worst jailers of journalists. Many of the jailed journalists languish without charge or any expectation of due process.
Covering ongoing protests and clashes in the streets of Egypt has proven especially dangerous for both local and international journalists, who have been assaulted by security forces and protesters alike. Often, the journalists are directly targeted and accused of being spies or foreign agents.
This drastic decline in press freedom in Egypt was not inevitable and can be reversed. Using your significant influence, including on the sitting government under President Adly Mansour and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, we ask that you ensure all journalists can report freely and safely on next week’s election.
We call on both of you, as candidates, to affirm your commitment to the new Egyptian constitution, which protects freedom of the press.
Specifically, should you be elected president, we call on you immediately take the following actions:
1. Conduct thorough and comprehensive investigations into the deaths of all journalists and hold the killers to account.
2. End the abuse of authority by the Egyptian judiciary that has led to the unjust imprisonment of 16 journalists. Do all in your power to make sure they are released from prison.
Below, for your reference, we have attached a list of the 16 journalists CPJ research shows are currently imprisoned in Egypt.
His Excellency Adly Mahmoud Mansour
Office of the President
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2 391 1441
His Excellency Ibrahim Mehleb
Magles El Shaab St, Kasr El Aini St.
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Email: [email protected]
His Excellency Hesham Barakat
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Supreme Court House
26th of July Street
Fax: +202 2 577 4716
List of imprisoned journalists in Egypt as of May 19, 2014
- Mahmoud Abdel Nabi, correspondent for the news website Rassd. Arrested July 3, 2013.
- Mahmoud Abou Zeid, freelance photographer. Arrested August 14, 2013.
- Abdullah al-Shami, Egypt correspondent for Al-Jazeera. Arrested August 14, 2013.
- Samhi Mustafa, executive director for the news website Rassd. Arrested August 25, 2013.
- Abdullah al-Fakharny, co-founder of Rassd news website. Arrested August 25, 2013.
- Mohamed al-Adly, presenter for the religious satellite channel Amgad TV. Arrested August 25, 2013.
- Ahmed Gamal, reporter for the online news network Yaqeen. Arrested December 28, 2013.
- Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief for Al-Jazeera English. Arrested December 29, 2013.
- Peter Greste, Al-Jazeera English correspondent. Arrested December 29, 2013.
- Baher Mohamed, Al-Jazeera English producer. Arrested December 29, 2013.
- Samah Ibrahim, reporter for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice newspaper. Arrested January 14, 2014.
- Karim Shalaby, reporter for the news website Al-Masder. Arrested January 25, 2014.
- Ahmed Fouad, reporter for Karmos news website. Arrested January 25, 2014.
- Hussein Hassan Sobhy, reporter for the online Radio Horytna. Arrested February 21, 2014.
- Ahmed al-Ajos, correspondent for Freedom and Justice News Gate. Arrested April 9, 2014.
- Abdel Rahman Shaheen, correspondent for Freedom and Justice News Gate. Arrested April 9, 2014.