Egyptian journalist charged with 'terrorism-related' charges, days after enforced disappearance

Egyptian journalist charged with 'terrorism-related' charges, days after enforced disappearance
An Egyptian journalist is being investigated for "terrorism-related" charges, three days after being taken by men believed to be security forces from her home in Cairo to an unknown location.
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
26 April, 2022
Egypt is ranked the world's third worst jailer of journalists. [Getty]

A Cairo state security prosecutor ordered on Monday the detention of journalist Safaa Al-Korbigi for 15 days, pending further investigations into "terrorism-related charges" against her, three days after being reportedly taken by unidentified men to an unknown location, her lawyer Ali Ayoub said.

"She has been faced with the charges of "disseminating false news and being involved in an illegal group" and was interrogated without her lawyer being present or even informed beforehand," Ayoub posted on his Facebook page.

Korbigi, who suffers from polio with an 85% disability in one of her legs, was subjected to enforced disappearance after being detained from her home in Cairo at dawn on 21 April, Egyptian Network for Human Rights posted on its official Facebook page.  

She used to work for state-run TV and radio magazine until the editor-in-chief, Khaled Hanafi, fired her on 6 March under the pretext that "she had been absent since 1 January without a proper excuse."

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"Korbigi had a probable case of Covid-19, which allows her to work from home. Even most of us who didn’t contract Coronavirus worked remotely during that time," one of Korbigi's co-workers told The New Arab on condition of anonymity.

"But the real reasons behind her dismissal were known to all of us; she led protests against leaderships at the state TV building [which hosts the magazine] over overdue payments and [alleged] corruption as well as posted several videos on social media, criticising how the country is being run," her colleague added.

The day Korbigi was forcibly disappeared, activists shared online her latest 26-minute video in which she slammed the parliament and the government of president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for what she called its constant failures and hosting Israeli music festivals in South Sinai.    

She further promoted a petition  posted online by an anti-regime group of expatriates named "Egypt's Technocrats", that called for suspending the upper and lower houses of parliament and "withdrawing confidence" in Sisi's rule over "falling short in handling several state files, especially the economy." 

Local and international human rights groups have documented dozens of cases of enforced disappearance in Egypt since Sisi took office in 2014. Among those who disappeared is an activist and former MP Mostafa al-Naggar, who is missing since 2018.

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.