Journalists launch a week of protests for release of detained colleagues

A group of journalists are intending to start a week of protests demanding the release of detained colleagues, condemning what they called “systematic assaults” by security authorities against people of the profession.
The Front for Defending Journalists and Freedoms said the week of demonstration starts Sunday at 3 pm with a protest scheduled on Tuesday at the Journalists’ Syndicate. The events will also involve a conference for journalists families as well as a symbolic hunger strike in solidarity with the detainees.
“Though we believe the release of any journalist is a good step, it still remains incomplete until with the release of our jailed and detained colleagues…and holding accountable those who assault journalists and violate their rights,” said the Facebook statement, whose group has attracted more than 100 members.
The statement was referring to the recent release of Qatari Al Jazeera English-Australian reporter, Peter Greste, who had been sentenced to seven years along with other colleagues over charges of disseminating false news and instigating violence following the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsy.
Press freedom advocates have been pressing for the release of Greste’s colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.
The government said Fahmy’s release was imminent as he renounced his Egyptian citizenship to make use of the law that stipulates the deportation of foreigners on trial.
But the campaign said that the incident arouses questions. 
“What happened during the trial of Al Jazeera journalists raises many questions after Egyptian citizenship became a reason for the punishment and detention of journalists,” read the statement, which noted that the campaign plans to collect signatures demanding the release of all detained journalists.
Around eleven journalists have been killed since the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, and Egypt has been listed among the world’s biggest jailers of journalists last year by the Committee to Protect Journalists. It is also rated "not free" in the Freedom House report for 2014.

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