Banha Criminal Court rejected on Saturday the prosecution’s appeal against the release of journalist Mahmoud Al-Saqa and two activists, Sayed Gaber and Ahmed Salem, who were granted a release order on Thursday with EGP 5,000 bail.
All three were detained against the backdrop of the Red Sea islands protests in April, which objected to the Egyptian-Saudi maritime border agreement.
Al-Saqa was arrested along with journalist Amr Badr after the police stormed the Press Syndicate headquarters on 1 May in an unprecedented incident.
The journalist was suffering poor health in prison. Al-Saqa was reportedly vomiting blood (haematemesis) for over three weeks, and has been held in a solitary cell for more than 85 days. The cell has no proper ventilation and lacks basic essentials for living, stated the Press Syndicate on the matter. Furthermore, the journalist was not given the rights stated in the prison’s regulations, according to a Doctors Syndicate letter to the Interior Ministry.
On 1 August, a group of journalists gathered inside the Press Syndicate headquarters to express solidarity with Al-Saqa, demanding that he receive proper health services.
Badr was released in late August after he had filed appeal against his pre-trial detention.
The police stormed the Press Syndicate to arrest the two journalists, saying Badr and Al-Saqa were using it as a shelter despite an arrest warrant issued against them. Following this incident, journalists held protests in front of the syndicate calling for a presidential apology and dismissal of the minister of interior.