Egypt- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved to learn that Egyptian journalist Hisham Gaafar has been released conditionally after being held for three and a half years without trial, and calls for his release to be made unconditional and for the withdrawal of all charges against him.
Gaafar, who was finally reunited with his family on the night of 6 April, is suffering from many ailments that are result of the terrible conditions in which he was held, including isolation, mistreatment and a lack of medical care.
Arrested on 21 October 2015, Gaafar was never brought to trial. RSF referred his case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which concluded that his detention was indeed arbitrary.
Gaafar is still far from being fully free. The conditions of his release stipulate that he must spend three hours at a police station twice a week and that he is banned from travelling abroad.
“We are relieved to see this reduction in the severity of Hisham Gaafar’s ordeal,” RSF’s Middle East desk said. “Nonetheless, his arrest and imprisonment were completely unjustified. The authorities must now make his release unconditional.
At least 30 journalists are currently held in connection with their work in Egypt – either in pre-trial detention or serving prison sentences. Egypt is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.