Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar has given “strict directives” to boost the health care services for jailed journalists, the ministry informed the Journalists's Syndicate in an official communication on Monday.
Instructions were also given to facilitate prison visits by the inmates’ families, with a meeting scheduled by the minister with syndicate representatives to discuss the journalists’ health situation, the ministry added.
The measures are meant for journalists Hesham Gaafar, Hani Salah Eddin, Youssef Shaaban and Hossam al-Sayyed.
Shaaban and Salah Eddin was briefly transferred to the hospital for lab analyses, while the families of Gaafar and al-Sayyed were able to visit them in prison to observe their health situation, according the ministry.
On Monday, dozens of journalists decided to stage a sit-in inside the syndicate following a meeting. Protesters voiced solidarity with the syndicate board’s decision to negotiate with the Interior Ministry on enhanced medical care and detention conditions for the journalists, as well as on gathering jailed journalists at one prison facility to make it easier for the syndicate to follow-up on their situations.
In December, Reporters Without Borders ranked Egypt as the world’s second worst journalists jailer after China, with 22 media workers estimated to be behind bars.
The interior minister has been under mounting attacks over alleged enforced disappearances of journalists and activists, as well as over poor detention conditions.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm