Egyptian journalist who covered Islamist groups in Sinai released from prison after seven years

Egyptian journalist who covered Islamist groups in Sinai released from prison after seven years
An Egyptian journalist in detention for a total of ten years was released on Monday evening.
2 min read
06 December, 2022
The journalist was being kept at the Badr Prison in Cairo [Getty/archive]

A renowned Egyptian journalist, specialised in research on Islamist groups in the Sinai, was released from prison on Monday evening after seven years behind bars.

Ismail el-Iskandarani, 39, was transferred from the notorious Badr Prison in Cairo to a police station in Alexandria after completing his prison sentence on 29 November.

Mohamed Ramadan, a human rights lawyer, said the journalist had complained of being beaten by the deportation officer on Sunday as he was transferred from Cairo to Alexandria, and was denied food and new clothes.

"Thank God, the decision to release Ismail Al-Iskandarani has been implemented and he is now free," wrote Egyptian prominent human rights lawyer Ali on Twitter.

"Thank you Mohamed Ramadan, Mahienour El-Masry, Noha Kamal, who made every effort from the moment he [El-Iskandarani] arrived in Alexandria until he left, and thank you to everyone who communicated with them and made an effort to complete the release procedures," Ali added.

El-Iskandarani was arrested at the Hurghada Airport on 29 November 2015 while returning from Germany.

He was sentenced by the military court on 22 May 2018 to ten years in jail, which was later reduced to seven years.

He was accused of "joining a group established in violation of the law, broadcasting false news, and publishing military secrets".

He had reportedly focused his research and journalistic work on Islamist groups in Egypt, as well as marginalised communities in the Sinai Peninsula, where the Egyptian military has been engaged in conflict with militants affiliated with the Islamic State group since at least 2013.

Live Story

El-Iskandarni, also a researcher specialised in Islamist groups, has written for several news outlets, including The New Arab.

Egypt is ranked 168 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders Index, which calls Egypt "one of the world's biggest prisons for journalists".

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) considered Egypt the world's third worst jailer of journalists in 2021, counting 25 in custody.

As of October 2022, the total number of journalists behind bars was 45, according to the Arab Observatory for Media Freedom, while there are an estimated 60,000 political prisoners in total.