A protest at the Press Syndicate’s Cairo headquarters called for the release of detained state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm journalist Mohamed El-Battawy, who was arrested on unknown charges on Wednesday.
Members of the syndicate’s board, Secretary General Gamal Abdelrahim, head of the culture committee Mahmoud Kamel, and relatives of the detained journalist also took part in the protest on Saturday.
Security forces arrested El-Battawy from his house in Toukh, Qaliubiya governorate, seizing his laptop and mobile phone in the process.
The Press Syndicate issued a statement calling for El-Battawy’s release, expressing concern about the continuation of his detention.
“The syndicate asserts that although it contacted the Ministry of Interior during the past three days, it didn’t receive any response on the charges against the colleague [El-Battawy] or the whereabouts of his detention,” the syndicate’s statement read.
The syndicate added that the continuation of El-Battawy’s detention on these conditions is considered a forced disappearance, that “raises a lot of questions and enlarges our concern about the escalation against journalists”.
Egypt ranked as the sixth worst jailer of journalists worldwide, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) most recent census.
The heavy security crackdown on opposition since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in July 2013 has seen many violations, including against the right of expression and jailing of journalists over publishing cases and other charges.
In a meeting Tuesday, the Press Syndicate demanded President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi make “a clear statement regarding the crackdown on press freedom, manifested by officials and state institutions against their rights to free speech and information access”.