ALERT / Egypt: Concerns over the Detention of Two Journalists

Alerts, Egypt, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

EuroMed Rights is highly concerned about the detention of Mostafa al-Asar, journalist at the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, and Hassan al-Banna, journalist at Ultra Sawt website. Both were forcibly disappeared on their way to work in Giza and were brought before State Security Prosecution two weeks later. However, to this date, the place of their detention remains unknown.

EuroMed Rights urges the Egyptian authorities to unveil the place of detention of the two journalists and to respect their rights to be properly defended. Our organisation worries that Mostafa al-Asar and Hassan al-Banna, are paying a heavy price for having expressed a dissent voice. Indeed many other journalists are currently imprisoned in Egypt, Egypt being recognised as one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists. Some of them have been officially sentenced, while others remain in pretrial detention and are yet to go on trial. Since 2011, ten journalists were killed without proper investigation. Egypt is ranked 161 in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

EuroMed Rights calls upon the EU and the rest of the international community to raise this case urgently with the Egyptian authorities, and to urge them to end the harassment and intimidation of journalists.


Background information
Mostafa al-Asar and Hassan al-Banna were missing since Sunday 4 February, while en route to Cairo’s Dokki neighborhood from their nearby apartment in Giza; during 10 days, their families could not know about their whereabouts.
According to Halim Hanish, lawyer of journalist Mostafa al-Asar, his client was brought before State Security Prosecution this Saturday 17 February for interrogations that had already began on Thursday 15.
The prosecution handed Mostafa al-Asar a 15-day detention order in the Saturday session, pending investigation into charges of joining an outlawed group and disseminating false news. Allegedly the journalist was asked about his political views and the nature of his journalistic work during the interrogation. Halim Hanish was prevented from speaking to his client in private.
On the other hand, Hassan al-Banna was brought before State Security Prosecution on Thursday. His interrogation was to be resumed this Sunday 18 February.