The Committee to Protect Journalists joined 14 other organizations in calling on Egyptian authorities today to halt the persecution of journalists, press freedom advocates, and civil society leaders. Restrictive measures have included travel bans, asset freezes, and the re-opening of a five-year-old investigation into the foreign funding of human rights organizations.
“The Egyptian authorities have moved beyond scaremongering and are now rapidly taking concrete steps to shut down the last critical voices in the country’s human rights community,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
The statement highlights the case of investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat, the founder of one of the country’s most prominent rights organization, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and Gamal Eid, the founder of regional press freedom group Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Both have been placed under a travel ban and had their assets frozen by authorities. If convicted in the foreign funding case, Eid and Bahgat could face up to 25 years in jail.
Egypt–which was the second worst jailer of journalists worldwide in 2015, according to CPJ’s prison census–has issued an order prohibiting independent media coverage of the trial.
Read the full statement here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The third paragraph has been updated to reflect that Gamal Eid is the founder of regional press freedom group Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.