Security forces storm the offices of the Masr Al-Arabiya news website threatening freedom of expression
Four editors Ahmed Abdul Gawad, Atef Halim, Islam Farahat and Hossam el Din, remained in the office while the others were asked to leave. The equipment was inspected and Ahmed Abdul Gawad was released. According to the site Arts investigative officials led by Major General Ahmed Alsayed stormed the office on Thursday and began inspecting the equipment and photographing the office. Eight computers were confiscated and articles alleged as threatening national stability ready for publishing were copied. The investigative team left a few hours later taking with them the editorials there. Journalist Adel Sabry called on journalists to work from home fearing their arrest especially as the site's administrative director was taken to the Dokki Police Station.
Egypt's investigative authority had stormed Media other institutions closing them down including Aljazeera office in Cairo and the Anadolu Agency office also in Cairo among others. The Egyptian authorities also closed down the Masr Al-Arabiya office on the grounds it was threatening Egypt's national stability.
The measure violates article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which asserts everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
HRM condemns the storming of the office which took place twice in less than two months especially as it has proved its legality describing it as an effort by authorities to silence mouths and the judiciary from raising awareness and
reporting the truth. The storming is a violation of international and domestic agreements and laws regarding freedom of opinion.
It is worth noting that the Mada institution was also stormed and its director Hesham Gaafar was arrested on October 21st, 2015. Employees were held at the office and prevented from leaving or returning to their homes. Journalist Hossam Alsayed a member of Islamonline's former site was also arrested.
Gaafar was then taken to his house which was also searched and its contents were destroyed in the process. His son was assaulted also. He was then taken to the Aqrab Prison where state security prosecution began interrogation and he was issued a 15 day detention order pending investigation in case number 720/2015. To date Gaafar remains held in custody without evidence of any crime committed.
HRM calls on the Egyptian authorities to respect agreements and conventions regarding human rights and to end the silencing of mouths and urges it to immediately release all journalists and bloggers held for expressing their opinion.