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. Asmaa Gamal
CAIRO, Aug 22 (Aswat Masriya) - An Egyptian court said on Monday it doesn't have authority to rule on a lawsuit demanding the imposition of judicial sequestration on the press syndicate.
The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters said it "lacks jurisdiction" to rule on the matter and referred the case to the Administrative Court.
The case was filed by member of the syndicate's general assembly Hussein Al-Mataani against head of the press syndicate, head of the supreme council of the press, the minister of finance and prime minister.
Al-Mataani called for imposing judicial sequestration on the syndicate. He believes the syndicate's board offended all Egyptian journalists when it allowed for the syndicate's headquarters to be used to “harbour fugitives”, in reference to 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.
Head of the Press Syndicate Yehia 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.