Creating new perspectives since 2009

70 journalists held in Egypt prisons

April 20, 2022 at 12:18 pm

This picture shows the courtroom and soundproof glass dock during the trial of 700 defendants including Egyptian journalists on September 8, 2018 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]

The arrest and imprisonment of journalist Ahmed Al-Bahey has raised the number of reporters in Egypt’s jails to 70, according to the Arab Observatory for Media Freedom.

Al-Bahey, a correspondent for the independent news website Masrawywas arrested from his home at 6am on 16 April and accused of “inciting violence”.

The prosecutor ordered that Al-Bahey be held on remand for four days.

Under Egyptian law, the maximum amount of time someone can be held in pretrial detention is two years, but political prisoners are often held on remand for longer.

Al-Bahey’s arrest is connected to his coverage of the killing of a young man in Al-Sadat City in Monufia Governorate on 15 April when police officers asked him not to film or publish details of the incident.

Despite agreeing, Al-Bahey was arrested anyway.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Al-Bahey covers social issues and human-interest stories in Monufia for Masrawy, an Egyptian news website.

READ: Egyptian probe discounts criminal violence in researcher’s death despite concerns

Egypt is 166 in the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index and the third worst jailer of journalists worldwide.

The CPJ reports that there are at least 25 journalists imprisoned in Egypt as a punitive measure against their work.

At the end of March, the Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of two Al Jazeera journalists; Hisham Abdelaziz and Bahaa El-Din Ibrahim.

Abdelaziz has spent more than 1,000 days in pretrial detention, whilst Ibrahim has spent 750 days on remand.

Their colleagues Ahmed Al-Majdi and Rabie Al-Sheikh are also being held in prison, according to Al Jazeera.

Rabie was arrested in August last year after flying from Doha to Cairo airport to visit his family and accused of spreading “fake news”.

Al Jazeera closed its offices in Egypt in June 2014 as Cairo cracked down on media outlets after the 2013 coup, with a particular focus on the Qatari based organisation.

Political prisoners in Egypt are systematically tortured and held in squalid conditions where they have little sunlight and limited family visits.