Journalists’ Syndicate alleges violations against detained press
Mahmoud Abou Zaid, courtesy of the Freedom for Shawkan Facebook page

CAIRO: Egypt’s Journalists’ Syndicate filed Saturday a complaint to the Attorney-General office and the Minister of Interior over alleged “violations” committed against detained journalists in maximum-security prison of al-Aqrab (Scorpion) in Southern Cairo.

The Syndicate received Thursday complaints from the detained journalists’ relatives and friends about “grave violations” to extend some of the detainees began a hunger strike, according to a statement by the Syndicate Saturday.

The violations include leaving the detainees inside solitary confinement without opening any window for natural light, according to the complaint.

The detainees’ wives issued a complaint says that the violation include reducing the period of time during which the detainees can walk outside their cells.

“Mold has spread inside the cells due to lack of ventilation and increasing humidity; there are not enough provided blankets and hot drinks despite cold weather which reached 5 degrees Celsius inside a cell.” the complaint stated.

The wives also complained that the Prison Administration sometime prevents the visits to relatives for months or allows only a few visitors, adding that some relatives stay all night in the street outside the prison to register early.

“We inform you that your colleagues (detained journalists) have declared that they are on hunger strike until meeting their demands and improving their situations to be equal to all other prisons in terms of conditions and visits,” the wives stated in their complaint.

The Syndicate of Journalists called for holding those who responsible for these violations accountable, demanding the Minister of Interior to transport the detained journalists from al-Aqrab Prison to another place where the relatives could visit the detainees.

Egypt has become the second worst jailer of journalists worldwide, second only to China; 23 are now in jail, compared to 12 being held in 2014, according to report released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in December 2015.

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