Prosecutor imposes gag order on Shaimaa al-Sabbagh’s death
Women's rally against Shaimaa al-Sabbagh's death in downtown Cairo

Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat issued a gag order on the case of deceased activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh until investigations into her death are complete, the state-owned news site Ahram Gate reported on Thursday.

The prosecutor general’s office is the only entity permitted to issue statements on the case until the order is lifted.

Barakat exhorted all media channels to be honest and accurate in their reporting on Sabbagh’s death.

Activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was fatally shot during a peaceful protest organized by the Popular Socialist Alliance Party in downtown Cairo on January 24. Shortly thereafter, video footage circulated that seemed to show a police officer shooting the young woman, prompting the New York-based Human Rights Watch to lambaste Egypt for its brutal crackdown on activists.

Gag orders usually preclude television channels and local and foreign newspapers, magazines and online portals from reporting on a given incident until investigations are complete.

Last month, the prosecution banned the Egyptian media from reporting on the kidnapping of a police officer in North Sinai. Captain Ayman Dessouky, who worked for the ports security division of the police force, was reportedly kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in early January. His body was found days later. The Province of Sinai — formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdes — later released a video of Dessouky’s execution at the hands of the Sinai-based militants.

Last year, a similar ban was imposed on the trial of deposed President Mohamed Morsi and 35 others accused of espionage. The defendants face charges of conspiring with foreign entities and revealing military secrets to foreign countries.


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