Cairo- A Cairo court on Saturday sentenced Yehia Qalash, the chief of the Egyptian Press Syndicate, and two of its board members: Gamal Abdel-Reheem and Khaled El-Balshy to two years in prison for sheltering wanted by the police.
In his first statement following the sentence, Qalash said that the “chief or member boards of the press syndicate are the not the main target but the whole syndicate entity and the freedom of journalists in Egypt.”
Secretary of the Syndicate Gamal Abdel-Reheem said that journalists respect the court sentence, though it’s historical and tough. He considered this sentence is against the press syndicate and journalists in general.
Following the ruling, the press syndicate called for an urgent meeting to discuss the sentence against the chief and the two board members.Although the sentence is not final and is subject to appeal, some journalists and politicians considered “the date this sentence was issued is a shameful day in the Egyptian history.”
The verdict was issued in absentia but the syndicate lawyer Said Abu Zaid told Asharq al-Awsat that they will appeal the verdict after paying the bail.
Qalash and the two board members are facing charges of sheltering terrorists after the police arrested Mahmoud El Sakka and Amr Badr from the syndicate headquarters in Cairo.
Former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei tweeted wondering if investments will increase when we imprison the chief of the press syndicate, considering this step as another scene in the absurd play.