Legal and media sources reported that the Egyptian authorities released three of the detained journalists, in a move that observers described as aiming to support Diaa Rashwan, the authority’s candidate for the position of head of the Journalists Syndicate.
The list included journalist and opposition politician Khaled Daoud, former head of the Constitution Party, Islam Al-Kalhi, a journalist for the left-leaning Darb website, and Mustafa Saqr, editor-in-chief of Al-Borsa newspaper.
The prosecution had charged the defendants with inciting violence, spreading false news, misuse of communication means, and belonging to a terrorist group.
Khaled Daoud was one of the prominent figures in the Salvation Front that helped pave the way for the June 30, 2013 demonstrations and then the July 3 coup led by the current president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, when he was defense minister, as he disrupted the constitution and dismissed the elected president, Mohamed Morsi.
After a period of support for Sisi, Daoud turned to criticizing his policies and ended up being arrested in September 2019, a day after the political science professors at Cairo University, Hazem Hosni and Hassan Nafaa, were arrested in similar circumstances.
Rashwan, currently head of the Journalists Syndicate and the most prominent candidate in the upcoming elections scheduled for March 19, had announced, hours ago, what he described as “good news for the press group regarding the release of some colleagues who are being held in pretrial detention pending some cases.”
Security sources also stated that a number of other journalists are being released, headed by journalist Amer Abdel Moneim, in connection with Case No. 1017 of 2020 State Security Inventory.
Al-Jazeera Net correspondent learned that the release of the journalists came after an agreement between Diaa Rashwan and “higher authorities” to consolidate his position in the upcoming elections for the position of the Syndicate of Journalists, especially since many journalists revealed their resentment due to Rashwan’s excessive subordination to authority, knowing that he also takes over the presidency of the Commission. The General Information Service, which is the government agency charged with following up and communicating with foreign media.
Journalists were upset by the closure of the Syndicate’s headquarters before, during and after the Corona crisis, under the pretext of maintenance and restoration work that lasted for several months without end.