WJWC Condemns Egyptian Authorities' Mistreatment of Dissidents' Families

WJWC Condemns Egyptian Authorities' Mistreatment of Dissidents' Families

In an apparent attempt to stifle his voice, Egyptian authorities have taken into custody the father of Ahmed Gamal Ziada, a journalist residing in Belgium. On August 22, security forces arrested Ziada's father in Giza's Nahya al-Balad locality.

Ziada turned to Facebook to inform others about the situation, seeking help and underscoring that his father has no political affiliations and should not be subjected to mistreatment or humiliation.

After being arrested, the next day saw the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordering his detention for a period of 15 days while investigations are conducted. He faces charges of "joining a prohibited group, misusing social media, and disseminating false information." These charges are commonly seen as baseless and concocted by Egyptian authorities, often used as a pretext for the arbitrary arrest of journalists, activists, or their family members.

For years, the Egyptian authorities have persistently targeted the families of dissidents living abroad, aiming to suppress their voices or coerce them into returning to the country, even after they managed to escape or were released on bail. Journalist Ziada, who was held in pretrial detention for 487 days in the widely covered case referred to as the "Al-Azhar University incidents," has been residing in Belgium since March 2019 following his release on bail.

The organization "Women Journalists Without Chains" firmly condemns the continuous mistreatment of dissidents' families by the Egyptian authorities, irrespective of their location within the country or abroad. This mistreatment disregards the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution and law, including Article 95, which emphasizes the individual nature of punishment and the requirement for it to be based on the law.

Women Journalists Without Chains has revealed that the mistreatment of journalists' families by the Egyptian authorities appears to be a systematic act of revenge, aimed at dissuading dissidents abroad from speaking out by threatening harm to their loved ones, ultimately reflecting the authorities' resistance to change and their methodical targeting of independent journalists and press freedom.

The organization called for an immediate cessation of the harm inflicted by the Egyptian authorities upon the families of journalists, both male and female, and demanded the release of these individuals as well as all political detainees in the country.

It also urges the international community to exert pressure on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, demanding an end to his policy of implementing collective punishment against journalists and dissidents.

Issued by:
Women Journalists Without Chains 
August 30, 2023

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