The Egyptian authorities arrested prominent columnist Soliman Al-Hakim yesterday while he was driving his car in the coastal city of Fayed, his family have reported. According to Al-Hakim's daughter Malath, an army officer took his mobile phone to prevent him from making any calls.
The Interior Ministry is yet to announce details of the arrest or any charges that the writer is facing. However, it is known that Al-Hakim recently criticised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's policies in an interview on the Turkey-based Mekameleen TV with fellow journalist Soliman Gouda.
The head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate, Abdel Mohsen Salama, denounced the two journalists' appearance on the channel. "We are shocked by the appearance of journalists on these suspicious channels, which oppose the state and the army," exclaimed Salama last Friday in a telephone interview on a local channel. He added that the incident will be referred for investigation, stressing that "journalists must avoid getting into these situations, especially with the Egyptian state at such a delicate stage."
On 5 October, the Turkish-language channel recorded an episode in which Egyptian journalists spoke about participating in the 2018 presidential elections. Al-Hakim has attacked Al-Sisi's performance in office over the past four years and described his candidacy for the presidency as "a betrayal of the revolution." If he runs again, this will be a continuation of his betrayal, he added.