The Ministry of Interior withdrew the arrest warrant for prominent member of the Press Syndicate and head of its Freedoms Committee, Khaled El-Balshy, according to an official statement from the syndicate Wednesday.
“In the context of ongoing communications with the Interior Ministry, and after the notification from the ministry’s Legal affairs Committee against head of Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee Khaled El-Balshy, the ministry withdrew the arrest warrant against El-Balshy, sending a request to the prosecutor-general to revoke the warrant,” the statement read.
On Monday, an arrest warrant was issued against El-Balshy after a lawsuit was filed by Ministry of Interior officials accusing him of inciting demonstrations and insulting the police, among other alleged violations.
Hours before the Wednesday statement, the syndicate had called for called for a second emergency meeting Thursday to follow Tuesday’s meeting, held in the wake of the arrest warrant issued against El-Balshy.
“The warrant [was] based on an official report filed by the Interior Ministry, which fabricated accusations against El-Balshy, that [are strongly indicative of] a crackdown targeting our colleague for his known role in defending freedoms, in particular freedom of the press,” the syndicate said in a statement Tuesday.
Six political parties, 22 NGOs, and 92 public figures issued a statement on Tuesday expressing their solidarity with El-Balshy, stating that the arrest warrant was “nothing more than revenge against El-Balshy, who defends human rights and freedoms.”
Those figures included at least 14 members of the supreme committee of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), more than 10 human rights’ lawyers, as well as many researchers, politicians, journalists and two parliamentary members.
El-Balshy was elected a member of the syndicate’s board in March 2013, and since then has been vocal in calling for journalists’ rights and opposing violations and imprisonment against journalists.
The most recent of El-Balshy’s advocacy efforts came in February when he was informed that four of his colleagues, who are currently detained at Al-Aqrab high security prison, were nearly dead due to medical negligence.
El-Balshy went on strike until they were treated. The strike gathered support from a large number of journalists and it prompted an instant response from the Ministry of Interior at the time to ensure medical care for the journalists.