Egypt court orders release of journalist Amr Badr

Published August 29th, 2016 - 11:00 GMT
Journalists protest the crackdown on press freedom in Egypt. (AFP/File)
Journalists protest the crackdown on press freedom in Egypt. (AFP/File)

A criminal court has ruled on Sunday for the release of journalist Amr Badr on bail pending investigation, lawyers Tarek el-Awady and Khaled Ali said on their Facebook pages. 

Badr was accused of inciting protests, attempting to overthrow the regime and broadcasting false news with the aim of disturbing public peace.

Awady and Ali said in a statements published on their Facebook accounts that Badr will be released on $563 bail.

On May 1, security forces raided the press syndicate’s headquarters to arrest Badr as well as journalist Mahmoud el-Saqqa on accusations of “inciting protests” against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to hand over control over two strategic Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia.

The interior ministry however denied that security forces had stormed the building or used any kind of force.

The court’s decision to release Badr coincides with the release of human rights lawyer Malek Adly who publicly opposed the maritime border demarcation agreement and was released on Sunday as well after facing similar charges. 

The Egyptian-Saudi agreement stirred controversy and prompted thousands to take to the streets in rare protests on April 15 and April 25, amid a police campaign of mass arrests of activists opposed to the islands’ transfer. 

In June, the Administrative Court annulled the agreement, affirming that the islands fall within Egypt’s borders. However, the State Lawsuit Authority, which represents the government, appealed against the ruling before the Supreme Administrative Court.

The State Lawsuits authority had appealed the verdict before the Supreme Administrative Court. The authority also challenged the annulment of the agreement before the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC).

On Saturday, Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court accepted a request to recuse the panel reviewing the appeal.


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