“List of the Imprisoned Journalists During 2020”

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In 2020, the Egyptian Authorities continued launching arbitrary arrests campaigns against journalists, as by the end of December 2020, “The Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and Media” documented 17 arrest cases towards journalists and media workers, meanwhile the year ended and there are 13 journalists are still languishing in prisons, 12 of them are in partial detention. In addition to that, the presence of the journalist Ismael El-Iskandrany inside the prison to serve a 10 years a military prison sentence because of many accusations represented in joining a group established on the opposition of the law provisions “Muslim brotherhood”, participating in a criminal agreement as a purpose to committing crimes punishable by law and obtaining a military secret related to the Defense army by illegal means to inform it to the terrorist elements, broadcasting the secret via Facebook as well as spreading false gossips abroad about the country situations

The detained journalists in partial detention are tried according to the anti-terrorism law issued in 2015, with charges related to joining a terrorist group established in the opposition of the law provision and the constitution, and accusations of joining a terrorist group in spreading false news and promoting commission of terrorist crimes without any sufficient explanation of these accusations nature or the grounds where these accusations depended on or specifying the nature of the group or how these news classified as “false”

Hence, the Egyptian Authorities imprison journalists in partial detention pending these accusations for long times, as a violation to the partial detention nature and being just a precautionary measure that is supposed to be applied in particular cases with severe restrictions. In order to circumvent around the pre-trial detention period for 2 years at most, the authorities release journalists who have reached this stipulated period, and then “recycle” pending new other cases where they face the same charges against them in the case in which they were released, so that the journalists / media professionals spend several years behind the bars are merely accusations on which there is no clear evidence, and if there was, they would have been held accountable and their case would have been decided upon instead of this repeated extension of pretrial detention pending the case

On another hand, the Egyptian Authorities were widespread in 2020 in performances related to renewing the pre-trial detention journalists only on the papers without being brought to justice authorities and their statements because of the existence of “security impediments” or “impossibility to transfer the accused”; which reflects the difficulty of transferring the detainees from the prisons to the headquarters of the Supreme State Security Prosecutions for security reasons. There is no legal basis for this in the constitution or in the law through which the mechanisms of applying legal excuses can be known. These excuses deprive the accused of legal appearance before his normal judge on his legal dates, which may be an opportunity to release him, prevents him from this right, that matter contradicts the rules of justice stipulated in the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure, guaranteeing the pretrial detention decision may not be issued without interrogating the accused, as well as the necessity of hearing the statements of the Public Prosecution and the defendant’s defense before the pretrial detention decision is issued, besides the necessity of enabling the pretrial detention to seek the assistance of a lawyer

In general, the pre-trial detained journalists who reached 12 journalists, 11 of them males and 1 female, are being tried in 7 cases, the most prominent of them the case No.488 of 2019 which includes 4 journalists are tried, taking into consideration the journalist “Solafa Magdi” is accused pending 2 cases. All the journalists are facing almost united charges related to joining/ participating a terrorist group and spreading false news, will be detailed in the next paragraphs where the observatory deals with each case separately

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