The Union of Journalists and Reporters in Northern Sinai issued the following statement after security forces arrested Sabri Khalid and Azza Maghari, Shorouk newspaper journalists, in the coastal town of Arish:
Another slap in the face of Egyptian journalism by security forces who arrested Shorouk newspaper journalists as they did their professional press duties in North Sinai. With our colleague Ahmed Abu-Deraa, a reporter with Al-Masry Al-Youm (privately-owned newspaper) in Sinai, still unjustifiably behind bars on military charges that keep changing every day.
This is the ironic, bitter new reality Egyptian press has to suffer – utterly unacceptable by any free or honorable citizen.
The Union strongly condemns the ill-treatment and humiliation our colleagues Sabri Khalid, Shorouk newspaper photographer; and Azza Maghari, Shorouk editor, were subjected to during their arrest at their residence in a hotel in the town of Arish. Evidently, the manner of their arrest violated all ethics, norms and laws.
Even more insulting, security forces slandered the journalists in front of passers-by, during the arrest, and threw their Journalists Syndicate ID cards in the street, announcing that they cannot be used in Sinai – as if the Sinai is now under the rule of non-Egyptian laws.
After that, coup authorities released the two journalists with meaningless words of apology that neither restored their dignity nor admitted the authorities’ mistake, because security apparatus now are immune, they will not be held accountable for errors committed at any time.
The Union calls on all journalists and reporters to stand united and defend press freedom and the dignity of journalists and other press professionals, in order to regain their rights and hold accountable all those involved in violations, violence and repression, and also to support freedom for fellow Egyptian Abu-Deraa, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper journalist.
No jail is large enough to imprison free speech