New York, May 8, 2017–The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomed the verdict by the Giza Criminal Court acquitting Egyptian journalists Hany Salah-el-Deen and Mosad Al-Barbary, and called on authorities to immediately free Abdullah al-Fakharany, Samhi Mustafa, and Mohamed al-Adly, whose sentences were reduced to five years from 25 years. The rulings came in a retrial of what has become known as the “Raba’a Operations Room” case, relating to coverage of the violent dispersal of a protest at Raba’a Al-Adawiya in Cairo on August 14, 2013, which left hundreds dead.
“We are pleased that Hany Salah-el-Deen and Mosad Al-Barbary have now been acquitted,”” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “We saw no evidence throughout this process that justified their original conviction. Likewise, we call on Egyptian authorities to release Abdullah al-Fakharany, Samhi Mustafa, and Mohamed al-Adly, along with all other Egyptian journalists who have been jailed for their work.”
Hassan el-Kabbani was originally reported to be part of today’s retrial, but his wife told CPJ that he was not a defendant in this case. Kabbani remains behind bars on other charges related to his journalism, according to CPJ research. At the time of CPJ’s most recent annual prison census, Egypt was the third worst jailer worldwide, with 25 journalists in prison.