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Egypt journalist and husband’s detention renewed

February 28, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Egyptian journalist Solafa Magdy (R) and her photojournalist husband Hossam El-Sayed. [Twitter]

Journalist Solafa Magdy and her husband Hossam Al-Sayyad have had their detention renewed for a further 15 days.

Solafa and her husband were arrested in November 2019 as they were leaving a coffee shop in Dokki, Cairo, along with their friend, the activist Muhammed Salah.

All three were forcibly disappeared for 18 hours inside the Supreme State Security Prosecution.

The trio were swept up as part of the September crackdown in which authorities detained thousands of Egyptians, including children, to prevent them from demonstrating.

Some 4,000 people were arrested over several weeks as people called on General-turned-President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to stand down.

Rights groups have said that Solafa was targeted because she had defended her friend, 6 April founder Israa Abdulfattah, who was kidnapped by security forces from a street in Cairo in October and then tortured and beaten in custody.

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At the end of January rights organisations announced that Solafa’s life was in danger after news circulated she had been subjected to deliberate medical neglect despite suffering from high blood platelets and severe pain in her back and knee as a result of the torture she has endured inside the jail.

Belady Centre for Rights and Freedoms said she had to stop receiving medical treatment because the prison hospital was unhygienic and the equipment was not sterilised.

In her initial days inside prison Solafa was injected with a drug she was allergic to which severely affected her mobility for several days.

Her condition was made worse by the conditions inside Al-Qanater women’s prison, where she is being held.

Solafa has worked for a number of media organisations including Al Sharqiya, DW, Daily News Egypt and the BBC.

In 2017 she founded Everday Footage, a school in Egypt to teach citizen journalists and researchers how to use their mobile phones to document the news.

In 2019 she won the Reham Al-Farra fellowship and became the only Arab journalist picked to cover the United Nations General Assembly.

In December Solafa went on hunger strike with ten other female detainees to protest their ill treatment and the conditions in which they are being held.