Media gag on case of 2 journalists arrested in syndicate storming
Journalists and photojournalists hold banners as they demonstrate in front of the Press Syndicate - AFP/Mahmoud Khaled

CAIRO: A media gag has been imposed on the legal case of two journalists arrested in a Sunday police storming of the headquarters of the Journalists Syndicate, according to a Tuesday decision by Attorney General Nabil Sadeq.

In a Tuesday statement, the top prosecutor defended the legality of the arrest procedures of the two journalists, Mahmoud el-Sakka and Amr Badr, saying that their arrest was per a warrant as they both face “criminal charges not related to their work as journalists.”

The gag will be applied to all types of media outlets, audio and visual, as well as local and foreign media until the end of the investigations, the statement said.

On Monday, the two journalists were ordered into pre-trial detention of 15 days pending investigations into accusations of spreading false news, disrupting the constitution and trying to overthrow the current regime.

The prosecutor’s statement added that the journalists and the head of the syndicate, Yehia Qallash, might face punishment per penal code, in case investigations revealed that both parties agreed on the journalists’ sit-in to hide from being detained.

The storming, although denied by the Interior Ministry, has been met with a wave of anger among journalists who slammed the continuous police harassment and called for the dismissal of the Interior Minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. The escalation comes as many journalists were rounded up over the past weeks amid protests against a deal that transferred two Red Sea islands into Saudi waters.

The Journalists Syndicate is scheduled to hold an urgent assembly Wednesday to announce its stance regarding the latest assaults against journalists.

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