Ahead of the Hearing: 400 Journalists and Human Rights Advocates Join Journalists’ Syndicate Leaders in Urging Ziada’s Release

البلشي وقلاش و400 يطالبون بالإفراج عن جمال زيادة.. وعرضه أمام النيابة الأربعاء

The Supreme State Security Prosecution will consider the renewal of the detention of Gamal Ziada, the father of journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada, on Wednesday. He is accused of “joining a subversive group, spreading false news, and misusing social media.”

Around 400 journalists and human rights activists have issued a statement calling on the Egyptian authorities to release Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s father. Among the signatories are the head of the journalists’ syndicate, Khaled Elbalshy, the former head, Yehia Kalash , Mahmoud Kamel, the head of the freedoms committee at the journalists’ syndicate, and Hesham Younis, the first deputy of the journalists’ syndicate.

The statement calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s father and calls for “putting an end to such illegal and unethical practices.”

The statement reads: “We declare our full solidarity with the family of journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada, whose father was arrested by security forces because of his son’s journalistic work.” The arrest of the father due to his son’s work is a blatant violation of human rights and freedom of the press, and it constitutes unacceptable pressure on journalists in carrying out their work freely and credibly.

ِA Request to the Attorney General for Ziada’s Release

In a statement to “Zawia3,” human rights lawyer Mamdouh Gamal stated that on Sunday, September 10, 2023, he filed a request on behalf of Gamal Ziada’s family to the Attorney General for the release of Ziada. The request, registered under number 51444 / 2023, states that “on August 22, 2023, security forces arrested Gamal Ziada in Nahya village in Giza, then took him to an undisclosed location.” It further states, “On the same day, the family was surprised to see him presented before the State Security Prosecution for questioning in connection with the mentioned case, and the family learned that the State Security Prosecution had charged him with joining a subversive group, spreading false news, and misusing social media.”

Gamal noted, “It is strange that the State Security Prosecution ordered his detention pending investigation even though he had not published any information, expressed his opinion, or joined a political group before.” He added, “This is what we emphasized in our request to the Attorney General.”

On August 22, 2023, security forces detained Gamal Ziada after his son posted topics related to human rights, the seriousness of the national dialogue, and concerns about the upcoming presidential elections. Security forces verified Gamal Ziada’s national identification card and held him in an undisclosed location. National security officers questioned him about his son Ahmed Gamal Ziada, his involvement with human rights organizations, and his journalistic activities. His ID card and mobile phone were confiscated. The following day, Ziada appeared before the State Security Prosecution, accused of disseminating false news, misusing social media, and affiliating with a subversive group. Despite Gamal Ziada’s limited activity on social media, he manages a Facebook account for promotional purposes related to his clothing workshop. Although he hadn’t engaged in any political activities, he was detained under case number 2064/2023, with a 15-day remand pending investigation, and he was transferred to Cairo’s Tenth of Ramadan Prison.

Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s son had previously faced imprisonment and trial due to his journalistic work on multiple occasions. He spent over a year and a half in pretrial detention related to the “Al-Azhar events” case, during which security forces arrested him on December 28, 2013, while covering clashes at Al-Azhar University. He was moved between various detention centers before being acquitted by the court in April 2015. He was arrested again upon his return from Tunisia in 2019, and during that time he was isolated from the outside world, and he was interrogated only after 15 days of detention. He appeared before the Imbaba prosecution office, which accused him at that time of “spreading false news” in connection with case No. 67/2019. The prosecution later decided to release him on bail of ten thousand Egyptian pounds after more than two months of detention. He then traveled to Belgium to study “International Relations and Political Sciences” at the Free University of Brussels.