Egypt detains three journalists for publishing 'fake news' after damning human rights report

Egypt detains three journalists for publishing 'fake news' after damning human rights report
3 min read
28 November, 2019
Egypt has arrested three journalists on charges of 'spreading false news' on the same day that Amnesty published a report detailing the Supreme State Security Prosecution’s abuse of anti-terror legislation.
Egyptian security forces have cracked down on dissent recently [Getty]

Egypt security services imprisoned three journalists for 15 days on Wednesday for "spreading false news".

The Egyptian Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) decision took place on the same day that Amnesty International published a report saying that the prosecution service had built a "parallel justice system" in Egypt, using anti-terror legislation to imprison peaceful political activists.

The SSSP also decided to renew the imprisonment of four opposition activists for five days on Wednesday.

The three arrested journalists were named as Solafa Majdi, her husband Husam Al-Sayad, and Mohammed Salah.

Majdi was were accused of "cooperating with a terrorist group" and "spreading false news which could harm public security" while Al-Sayad and Salah were accused of "joining a prohibited group".

Gamal Eid, the head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said in a Facebook post that Solafa had been assaulted in custody and that the network's lawyers had demanded that she receive a medical examination.

He added that the journalists' mobile phones and cars were seized by police.

The three journalsits are reportedly close to Esraa Abdelfattah, a journalist and human rights activist who was arrested last month and brutally tortured by police.

Last week Egyptian security forces raided the offices of Mada Masr, described as Egypt's "last independent news outlet" and briefly arrested journalists after confiscating their laptops and phones.

In its report on the SSSP’s repressive activities, Amnesty International mentioned the case of Zyad al-Elaimy a member of the "Hope Coalition" opposition grouping which aimed to take part in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

Elaimy had previously been a member of parliament and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

Read more: Sisi's brutal crackdown continues, aided by western accomplices

On Wednesday, the SSSP renewed his detention for 45 days, along with three other people involved in the Hope Coalition - Husam Saad, Hisham Abdel Halim, and Omar al-Shunaiti.

The four men were arrested following widespread raids by security forces coinciding with the sixth anniversary of the July 2013 coup that brought Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power. Dozens of activists also were detained in these raids.

The activists have been accused of cooperating with exiled leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though the Hope Coalition represents secular political trends.

In September and October, thousands of people were arrested in a crackdown by Egyptian security forces which followed anti-Sisi protests.

The protests were prompted by the publication of the "Palacegate" videos, in which construction contractor Mohamed Ali revealed that Sisi and his family members had been using public funds to build luxurious palaces at a time when poverty rates in Egypt had been increasing.


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