Press Syndicate to escalate protest until interior minister's dismissal

Tuesday 03-05-2016 05:03 PM

The head of the Journalists' Syndicate Yehia al-Qalash on May 1, 2016 after police stormed the syndicate and arrested two journalists. (ASWAT MASRIYA/ Mohamed el Raai)

CAIRO, May 3 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's Press Syndicate will continue to escalate against the interior ministry until the minister is removed, the head of the syndicate Yehia Qallash told a press conference on Tuesday.

The syndicate has filed an official complaint with the prosecution against the interior minister and the head of the Cairo Security Directorate against the security forces' raid on the syndicate two days ago.

Qallash reaffirmed that 40 security personnel "stormed" the syndicate building to arrest two journalists, Amr Badr and Mahmoud al-Sakka during a sit-in they had been staging in the syndicate.

The two journalists work at a critical online news outlet called Yanair Gate, which had issued a statement describing the day on which the raid and arrest took place as "a black day in the history of Egyptian journalism."

Public prosecution has accused the journalists of inciting protests, attempting to overthrow the regime and broadcasting false news with the aim of disturbing public peace.

The prosecutors ordered on Tuesday the detention of the two journalists 15 days pending investigation.

During the press conference, Qallash cited the constitution, saying that the incident violates the rights of journalists and that it is "unacceptable".

Both the doctors' and lawyers' syndicates announced their support for the Press Syndicate after the police raid.

On its part, the interior ministry denied in a statement on Monday that security forces had stormed the building or used any kind of force.

The ministry added that the two journalists Badr and Sakka handed themselves in to the police "once they were informed of the arrest warrant" that had been issued against them.

The Press Syndicate, however, said in a statement on Monday that “the only way to address this crisis and to stop the escalation is to recognise the facts… and to stop all attempts to circumvent the truth by broadcasting false information propagated by the Ministry of Interior in a desperate attempt to hide the crime it committed in broad daylight and in front of a wide audience of the syndicate’s members."

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