The Association against Impunity and for Transitional Justice (AITJ) calls for the immediate release of the journalist Basma Mostafa, and demands to open an investigation in order to determine whether this is another attempt to suppress the right to freedom of the press and to undermine the rule of law, already in a fragile condition.
Basma Mostafa, was traveling to Luxor to cover up the violence and clashes in the village of Awamiya between residents and security forces, following the killing of Awais al-Rawi by police forces on Wednesday, September 30. Cairo's State Security Prosecutor's Office decided Sunday to detain Basma Mustafa for 15 days, awaiting investigation, one day after her disappearance in Luxor. According to Al Manassa, the platform for which Basma works, the journalist is accused of "joining a terrorist group" and “spreading false news” which the State Security Prosecutor's Office did not clarified. Following the Egyptian law, these charges can reach the maximum prison sentence.
Before Basma, last month his colleague Islam Al-Kalhi, journalist of Darb's website, was arrested while covering the events of Al-Munib, and was referred to the Supreme State Security Prosecutor's Office, which decided to imprison him for 15 days pending investigation after he was accused of "spreading false news". Egypt is at 166th place of the world press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders. These non-isolated episodes between Egyptian authorities and the press, highlight the limits in freedom of press in the country and the extent of impunity for the Egyptian authorities.
In recent years, Egypt has imprisoned dozens of reporters and occasionally expelled foreign journalists. In June, authorities raided al-Manassa’s offices in Cairo and briefly arrested its editor, Nora Younis, who was released pending investigation into charges of managing a news website without an operating license. Mostafa's arrest is the latest in a series of curbs placed by the government on independent media outlets.
AITJ calls the Egyptian government to respect fundamental human rights such as freedom of thought and opinion and guarantee democratic accountability and freedom of the press.