News

December 13, 2018

Egypt : Wael Abbas and Momen Hassan finally released, RSF calls for the withdrawal of all charges against them

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved to learn that the well-known blogger Wael Abbas and the documentary filmmaker Momen Hassan were released this week but calls for the withdrawal of all charges against them.

Momen Hassan was freed on 11 December and Wael Abbas was freed yesterday. In both cases, this was more than ten day after a judge ordered their conditional release. Both had spent more than seven months in preventive detention.

 

They are accused in connection with what is officially known as “Case 441.” This is a case that,  according to the Egyptian media, involves the alleged existence of “Muslim Brotherhood media cells.”

 

Dozens of people, including journalists, activists and lawyers linked to the media, have previously been arrested as part of Case 441 and charged with “affiliation or support for a terrorist group and dissemination of false news.”

 

Both Abbas and Hassan remain under judicial control. According to their lawyers, they must report to a police station twice a week for an initial period of 45 days.

 

“The conditional release of Wael Abbas and Momen Hassan is good news, but it is just a first step,” said Sophie Anmuth, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “The unjust proceedings initiated against them must be dropped. It is unacceptable that they should continue to be suspected of belonging to a terrorist group or spreading false news just because they covered politics and other news in their country.”

 

At least 35 journalists are currently detained in connection with the provision of news and information in Egypt, which is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.