The undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations call on the Attorney General to close Case No. 19 of 2022 (Cairo Appeal Investigations) involving four women journalists from Mada Masr, Lina Atallah, Rana Mamdouh, Bissan Kassab and Sarah Seif El-Din, drop charges against them and close the criminal case.
The four journalists were under investigation before the Appeals Prosecution Office in Al-Rehab city last Wednesday, September 7th. They were charged with “spreading false news that would disturb public peace and harm the public interest,” in addition to two charges of “insulting and defaming Mustaqbal Wattan (Nation’s future) party representatives in Parliament, and using social media to cause disturbance.” The editor-in-chief, Lina Atallah, was additionally charged with creating a website without a license.
The Public Prosecution released the four Mada Masr journalists on a bail of 20,000 pounds for the editor-in-chief, and 5,000 pounds for each of the other three journalists.
The investigation came after hundreds of MPs and members of the Nation’s Future Party, which has a parliamentary majority, filed complaints against Mada Masr’s journalists, against the background of the website’s publication of a news story on August 31 that quoted sources within the party that state control agencies have implicated party leaders in “grave financial violations” which may lead to their removal from their positions.
While the undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations affirm their solidarity with the accused journalists, they renew their call on Egyptian authorities to stop prosecuting journalists, immediately release the journalists imprisoned for practicing their profession, lift the illegal block on independent press websites, and allow all media outlets to operate freely and without harassment.
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
El Nadim Center against Violence and Torture
Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies
Egyptian Front for Human rights
Committee for Justice