Journalists gather outside the Press Syndicate in downtown Cairo ahead of an emergency general assembly meeting on May 4, 2016, in protest to a police raid on the syndicate and the arrest of two journalists. ASWAT MASRIYA
CAIRO, July 31 (Aswat Masriya) - A Cairo court rejected Sunday a lawsuit that calls for imposing judicial sequestration on the press syndicate.
The case was filed with the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters against head of the Press Syndicate Yehia Qallash, by a group of journalists who called themselves the syndicate of independent journalists.
Hussein Al-Mataani, the founder of independent syndicate, said he wants to save the syndicate from attempts by the current council to politicise its role. The lawsuit said the syndicate's headquarters was used to harbour fugitives, in reference to the arrest of journalists Mahmoud El-Sakka and Amr Badr, who both work for the Yanayir Gate news website.
On May 1, security forces raided the syndicate’s building to arrest the two journalists on accusations of “inciting protests” against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to hand over control over two strategic Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia.
The interior ministry's denied that security forces had stormed the building or used any kind of force.
Qallash and senior board members Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abd al-Reheem are facing trial on charges of sheltering Sakka and Badr and spreading false news related to the police raid on the syndicate’s headquarters.
Several human rights organisations have condemned the reported police raid, with Amnesty International describing the arrests as a "clampdown on freedom of expression"
"The storming of the Press Syndicate earlier this month was unprecedented. It is the most brazen attack on the media the country has seen in decades," said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.