The Ministry of Interior responded to some of the demands made by Journalists Syndicate board members on Monday, as they staged a sit-in over prison conditions for detained journalists.
Khaled al-Balshy, Mahmoud Kamel and others commenced a sit-in outside the syndicate in solidarity with hunger-striking journalists over their prison conditions. Head of the syndicate, Yehia Qallash, and former head Diaa Rashwan, along with a number of others, also visited the sit-in and expressed their support, Balshy said.
Jailed journalists Youssef Shaaban and Hany Salah Eddin were transferred to the hospital to undergo necessary medical tests following the syndicate strike , according to Balshy.
After 10 months of being deprived of his Hepatitis C medication, Shaaban is now sleeping 18 hours a day, which is a sign of liver damage according to the prison doctor, Shaaban’s wife Ranwa Youssef reported on Sunday after visiting him.
Shaaban was sentenced to two years in prison in May 2015, along with activist Mahienour al-Massry and eight others, for storming a police station during a protest in 2013.
Salah Eddin has been detained since November 2013 and was sentenced to life in prison for allegedly running an “operation room” during the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in to support Mohamed Morsi. He has been denied a potentially life-saving operation to remove a tumor in Tora prison, according to his family.
The sit-in also pressured prison authorities and the Ministry of Interior to permit the wives of journalists Hesham Gaafar and Hossam al-Sayed to visit their hunger-striking husbands in the notorious Al-Aqrab maximum-security prison, which Balshy said has now been agreed.
Gaafar’s was transferred to the prison hospital on Sunday due to repercussions from his hunger strike, according to his family. The CEO of Mada media foundation has been detained since October on charges of international bribery and belonging to an outlawed organization.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked Egypt as the second worst jailor of journalists after China in December 2015, with 24 journalists currently in jail.