RSF welcomes a series of presidential pardons in Egypt with the warning about more than 20 journalists are still detained
RSF is praising the release of seven prisoners in Egypt at the end of last month. Nevertheless, these releases come as a government’s part of a five-year ‘National Strategy for Human Rights’ started in September 2021.
Its aim is to promote reforms that should result in an increase of freedoms for Egyptians, including press freedom. The United States is donating Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid each year and another $130 million is conditioned on respect and implementation of human rights, thus encouraging the Egyptian government to give presidential pardons.
RSF notes that despite these releases, around 20 journalists are still in jail. Some of them are the bloggers ‘Mohamed Oxygen’ and Alaa Abdel Fattah, a freelance photographer Alia Awad, and four Al Jazeera journalists – Rabie El-Sheikh, Ahmed El-Nagdy, Bahaa Ed-Din Ibrahim, and Hesham Abdel Aziz. Fattah and several of his fellow detainees were even considering ‘group suicide’ as they were not on the list of pardoned prisoners.
Al-Manassa, an independent Egyptian news website, has been inaccessible in Egypt since last month, while more than 500 other websites have been blocked from online access since 2017, which includes the RSF.