CAIRO: The U.S. Department of State called on Egyptian authorities to complete a review of the controversial Protest Law and to “release an amended version that will enable full freedom of expression and association,” according to the department spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Psaki’s remarks followed the three-year-imprisonment sentence against Sanaa Seif and Yara Sallam, along with 22 co-defendants who were also fined 10,000 EGP ($1,400) after being in pre-trial detention more than 100 days after violating the 2013 law, which criminalizes any form of protest without prior authorization by security forces.
“We are deeply troubled by the harsh prison sentence issued yesterday against 23 Egyptians for organizing an unauthorized protest,” Psaki said, adding that the law was “highly restrictive.”
Regarding a recent announcement by major Egyptian editors in chief about their support to the government’s policies against fighting terrorism, Psaki said “It’s the responsibility of a free press to guarantee the public’s access to information, including holding state institutions accountable for their actions. And so journalists in Egypt must be protected and permitted to freely do their jobs without the pressure of self-censorship.”
The media outlets’ decision came after the attack that targeted military personnel in Arish of North Sinai in which more than 30 soldiers killed and dozens were injured last Friday.