The detained Egyptian journalist, Muhammad Said, sent a letter to his family from inside his prison, complaining about the evaporation of his journalistic dream despite his talent, which was praised by the elders of the profession and despite his commitment to objectivity and independence.
Saeed completed 3 years of pretrial detention after being recycled pending a second case after his release in July last year.
Saeed said in his letter:
In his sad hymn, Hamza Namira said: My fear is not too long for us. What he feared and feared has occurred and the distress has been prolonged.”
Although May 31 is the memory of my unfinished absence, I date my absence five months before that, the moment when I stopped my journalistic project and stopped writing. That moment when I decided to answer a question, despite its simplicity, but it is central to my perception, which is: Does the press make a strong society, or does a strong society make a strong press?
About 10 years ago, Professor Muhammad Abdul Quddus described me in an article as the next press imp. The imp is now in the lantern, locked up, the imp is not a guild, and he has no squad. Journalism, which he worked for 13 years, was not just a job, but a private relationship, a relationship that I have not yet been able to define. 3 years have passed me behind the sun like a theater shutter. Many waters ran into the river and the distress was prolonged, and the parents were tired. We are still, thanks to God, cohesive, and we will remain so, God willing. You will watch and it will all help me.”
For his part, Director of the Arab Media Freedom Observatory, Qutb Al-Arabi, said that journalist Muhammad Saeed deserves attention from organizations working in the field of defending the rights of journalists, describing him as a “promising journalist and his pen sober,” as he combined journalistic and television work.
Al-Araby added, to the evening program on Al-Jazeera Mubasher, that Saeed had submitted his papers to become a member of the Syndicate of Journalists, but the Syndicate did not accept his papers after arguing that the newspaper he was working for had been closed.
Regarding Saeed’s saying in his message that he is not a unionist and does not have a “clique” to defend him, Al-Araby said that Saeed’s case is not the only one, as other journalists suffer from organizations’ neglect of their condition, adding, “All journalists imprisoned because of their opinions are a trust in the neck of all organizations and free journalists. The tax is for everyone.
Al-Araby confirmed that Saeed did not commit a crime, as evidenced by the fact that he was traveling and returning to Egypt naturally after the military coup in July 2013, as it appeared when his pretrial detention period ended in the first case that was framed for him, to be recycled again in a new case. He is inside his prison, as happens with others, indicating that if the authorities had had real accusations against him, they would have referred him to trial, but they resort to the weapon of extended pretrial detention.
Elaraby said that the Syndicate of Journalists claims that the number of imprisoned journalists is small, explaining that it only means members of the syndicate, but the real number is much more, as dozens of non-union members are imprisoned, revealing that the Arab Observatory for Media Freedom issued a report in which it monitored 71 journalists under arrest in present time.
Al-Araby stressed that not obtaining membership in the syndicate does not mean disregarding what the arrested journalists present, citing the example of the arrested writer Jamal Al-Jamal, who did not obtain membership in the syndicate, even though he is a well-known and great journalist.