Outspoken Egyptian state TV journalist accused of 'terrorism-related charges', days after being chased by unidentified men
A Cairo state security prosecutor ordered last week the detention of a prominent and outspoken state TV journalist and activist Hala Fahmy for 15 days, pending further investigations into the "terrorism-related" charges against her, merely a few days after she was chased on the streets of Cairo by unidentified men, lawyer Khaled Ali said on Tuesday.
"The first round of interrogation was conducted on 24 April without any lawyers present as we had not been informed of her arrest in the first place," Ali posted on his Facebook page.
It was not clear when Fahmy has been arrested.
Fahmy has been charged with "disseminating false news and being a member of an illegal group," the same charges faced by another state media journalist named Safaa Al-Korbigi.
Fahmy's colleague, former TV and Radio magazine journalist Korbigi was also subjected to enforced disappearance after being detained from her home in Cairo at dawn on 21 April by unidentified men who took her to an unknown location until she appeared before the state security prosecution three days later.
On the same day of Korbigi's detention, a similar situation almost took place with Fahmy except that she was not home. But hours later, Fahmy posted a live video in which she called for help as she was being chased for long hours by a car filled with "anonymous men" along the streets of Cairo.
When she sought the help of the police station in the Nozha neighbourhood, according to her, the policemen refused to take any action.
"All the crime [I] did was that I love this country and I care about it," she shouted in the video.
The video was quickly circulated on other social media platforms by activists.
After the 25 January revolution of 2011, Fahmy emerged as an outspoken critic of successive governments on social media platforms and has been known to lead protests against the overdue payments owed by the state Radio and TV employees and the alleged corruption at the headquarters of Radio and Television Union, the country's state-run broadcaster at Cairo's almost six-decade-old Maspero building.
Since taking power in 2014, Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has governed the country with an iron fist, and is frequently accused by local and international rights groups of overseeing "the worst crackdown on human rights, freedom of expression, and media in the country's modern history."
In 2021, Egypt has been ranked the world's third-worst jailer of journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists, with at least 25 reporters currently locked up.