Egyptian journalist held without charge in UAE

New York, August 1, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of Egyptian journalist Anas Fouda, who has been held without charge by the United Arab Emirates authorities for almost a month.

Fouda’s wife, Abeya, told CPJ she has not heard from her husband since he reported for questioning by Emirati security services on July 2. Abeya said authorities had not disclosed his health, whereabouts, or any charges against him. She said that after a month with no information, she decided to go public by speaking to Egyptian media and press freedom groups.

Fouda, who has lived in the UAE for nearly 10 years, works as editorial director for the MBC group, which includes the satellite channel Al-Arabiya. He is a member of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, and also writes a blog on Egyptian politics.

Fouda was concerned enough about his security that shortly before his interrogation, he contacted CPJ. Fouda told us that on June 27, security personnel at the Dubai International Airport told him he had been banned from traveling. The journalist told CPJ at the time that he could have been targeted in part because of his writings that supported the former Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt.

The UAE has launched a campaign of arrests and prosecutions of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government claims is attempting to overthrow the Emirati regime. Last month, 68 men were convicted of plotting a coup in a trial widely condemned by human rights groups.

Fouda told CPJ that he had no interest or involvement in Emirati politics.

“Emirati authorities should immediately release Egyptian journalist Anas Fouda,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “The Egyptian government should also be acting assertively to seek the release of one of its citizens who has disappeared within the interrogation rooms of its Gulf ally.”

In a statement given to CPJ before his interrogation, Fouda said, “My criticisms are for all. I refused all throughout my professional history to work under the banner of narrow partisanship.”

Fouda’s colleagues have created a Facebook group calling for his release.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This alert has been corrected to reflect that Fouda reported for interrogation on July 2.