Pakistan Press Freedom (PPF), in a letter to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, expressed concern over the continued detention of journalists Mohamed Hassan, Hamdy Al-Zaem, and Osama Al-Beshbeshy.
PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali urged the government of Egypt to review the cases of the three journalists who have been held in prison for investigation for the last three months.
According to Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the Central Cairo Prosecution ordered an additional 15 days of imprisonment for the three detained journalists on December 25. Photojournalists Hamdy Mokhtar, Mohamed Hassan, and Osama al-Bishbishi were arrested on September 26 while filming near the Journalists’ Syndicate in downtown Cairo, ANHRI reported.
Each of the three arrested journalists’ works with a different privately owned outlet, but they were arrested together while interviewing passersby for their opinions on recent government initiatives by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Security forces arrested them on the spot, without stating any clear reason, according to a statement published by news website al-Naba’a, Hassan’s employer. Al-Bishbishi is a photographer and cameraman with the news website Baladi. Mokhtar is a freelance photographer who works with the newspaper el-Shaab el-Jadeed.
All three have been charged with belonging to a banned organization, inciting violence and terrorism online, and publishing false news.
PPF urged the authorities in Egypt to review its record on press freedom and called on the President to ensure that the sanctity of press freedom remains intact.