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Egypt: Sisi government detains son of prominent journalist

Egyptian police [File photo]

Egyptian journalist Magdi Shendi, editor of Al-Mashhad weekly, has said that the Egyptian security forces stormed his house at dawn on Tuesday to arrest him. However, when they did not find Shendi they arrested his son as a means to create leverage and ensure that he surrender.

Several media figures and politicians confirmed that the Egyptian security forces took Shendi’s son as a hostage, “to pressure the father to surrender”. They noted that this case is not the first of its kind, as the Egyptian authorities have already employed similar methods against the families of other journalists and politicians.

The security forces did not give Shendi’s family a reason for their attempt to arrest him, nor did they show them a court order or a search warrant.

Although Shendi was a supporter of the military coup against the late President Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first elected civilian president, he recently outlined his opposition to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s regime via reports published by Al Mashhad. Consequently, the newspaper’s website was censored by the Egyptian authorities.

The Egyptian authorities have investigated earlier with Shendi after interviewing with a former presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, during which Sabahi opposed and sharply criticised the policies of the current regime.

The latest arrest attempt came after a new article by Sabahi was published by Al-Mashhad, prompting journalists to speculate that this may be the reason.

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Sabahi said in the interview: “So I stayed late with Hossam Mounis, Ziyad Al-Alimi, and Hisham Abdel Halim, in their cell, and I heard Hossam singing, although during our long years of friendship I did not catch him singing even once … The voice of Kamal Abu Aitastill rings in my ears while singing, ‘once they discovered that I carry Egypt in my heart they sent me into exile’, in the annexe of Mazraat Tora Prison, in September 1981.”

Sabahi added: “Although Mohamed Muneeb (a detained lawyer), my cellmate during the Nasserite armed organization’s years of imprisonment in 1986 at the International Counter-terrorism Centre in Tora, was prohibited like us from singing, talking and smiling, I always remember him singing, ‘O perfectly silhouetted lady crowned with pure gold … I will sacrifice my mother and father to protect you from doom’, as he is still doing time in prison now.”

Ayman Nour posted via his account the article’s link, which may be the reason for the arrest of Shendi’s son, and wrote: “I think this article is the reason why a team of officers from the interior ministry went at dawn today to the home of journalist Magdi Shendi, where they arrested his son to make him surrender. Al-Sisi’s regime has lost its last ties to logic.”

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