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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Life of Journalist Gamal Abdel Raheem in Danger

Tuesday, March 7, 2000

With extreme concern, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)
follows the deterioration in the health condition of Al Gomhourrya
journalist Gamal Abdel Raheem. Abdel Raheem announced that he would
begin a hunger strike on 26/2/2000 at the headquarters of the journalist
syndicate because of a decision to transfer him to the paper's regional
bureau in Aswan, about 800 km south of Cairo. He was taken to the
hospital and put in the intensive care unit because of chest pains,
circulatory failure and suspected Angina Pectoris. A lawyer from the
EOHR met with Abdel Raheem while he was in the hospital and noted that
he suffered a condition of severe general weakness, which rendered him
unable to speak with people around him. When he was released from the
hospital Abdel Raheem returned to the press syndicate and resumed the
hunger strike which he is still on at present.

Gamal Abdel Raheem has worked for Al Gomhourrya in Cairo since 1987. In
1998 an unjustified decision to remove him to the Aswan Bureau was
issued and he filed a complaint. When the complaint was rejected he went
on a hunger strike that drove the press union to interfere and mediation
to limit the transfer period to three months.

In 1999, to his surprise, Abdel Raheem was referred to a tripartite
investigation committee within the paper. In response, he announced a
second hunger strike on 19/3/1999, which caused his health to
deteriorate. The committee decided to dismiss him, and then re-appointed
him with a new salary which in effect annulled his more than 10-year
seniority in the paper. He was also prevented from working and did not
obtain his overdue financial entitlements. The situation escalated on
27/1/2000 when he was referred to the committee for the second time
based on a letter by the editor in chief of the Al Gomhourrya, which
paved the way for his dismissal on the pretense of declining to work

At the time of this second hunger strike, the EOHR called upon all
competent parties, including Chairman of the Highest Council for Press,
officials in the Conflict Resolution Committee in the Journalist
Syndicate, the Secretary General of the Journalist Syndicate, the head
of the Journalists Syndicate and others to interfere quickly and to
investigate this incident. Out of concern for the life of Abdel Raheem,
the EOHR renews this call. The EOHR has confidence in the role of the
Journalists Syndicate in defending the interests of its members. It also
urges the Chairman of the Board of the Tahrir Establishment and the
Editor in Chief of Al Gomhouryya to strive to resolve this problem in a
way that guarantees Abdel Raheem's rights.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)
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This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights. Derechos works against violations to human rights and humanitarian law all over the world.