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Protest in solidarity with journalists

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Journalists gather outside the Press Syndicate as one journalist gets handed a five year prison term, while another is tried by the military

Journalists gathered in their dozens outside the Press Syndicate in Tuesday, in objection to what they consider persecution.

The protest was held mainly to show solidarity with two journalists, Mohamed Sabry, who was arrested last Friday and is facing military trial, and Walid Ismail who was surprised to learn that he had been sentenced to prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer.

Ismail was protesting outside the syndicate. On Monday, Ismail was notified of a one year prison term against him.

Ismail said: “Today, I found out that it was actually five years, not just one,” Ismail said.

He is accused of assaulting an officer inside court during the final hearing of the trial of Hosni Mubarak, in June, 2012.

Protesters outside the syndicate felt Ismail was tried on trumped up charges.

Ismail was not notified that he was being tried, neither was the Press Syndicate. Ismail said he was assaulted by police officers during the trial.

The protesters were chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ministry of Interior, and the Chairman of the Press Syndicate, Mamdouh Al-Wali. Among the protesters was Gamal Abdel-Rehim, a board member of the syndicate.

The journalists also showed solidarity with Mohamed Sabry, the photo-journalist who was arrested by the military near Rafah  for entering a prohibited military zone and filming a military facility. Sabry is facing military trial and has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, 9 January.

On the steps of the syndicate prominent journalist Rasha Azab, said: “We have repeatedly gone and covered in these places…. this dangerous escalation against journalists.”

For many journalists the protest was about more than the cases of Ismail and Sabry. One of the protesters said: “We are here to talk about freedom of journalists.”

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