New York, August 22, 2017--Egyptian authorities should immediately release Hany Salah el-Deen, the former managing editor at the pro-government news website Youm Sabea, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Security officers arrested Salah el-Deen yesterday at his home in the town of Beni Suef in central Egypt and confiscated his personal laptop, according to news reports, which said he is accused of "inciting protests" among Youm Sabea staff members. Salah el-Deen is being held at Beni Suef police station, according to news reports.
Salah el-Deen had recently served four years of a 25-year prison sentence on charges including "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government." On May 8, he was acquitted on appeal.
Yesterday's arrest came after Salah el-Deen publicly appealed to Youm Sabea to fulfill its employee terms of agreement. The journalist said on social media that after his acquittal and release from prison, he was neither given his job back nor offered severance pay. He said that Youm Sabea threatened to "send him back to prison" if he asked for "his rights."
"The arrest of Hany Salah el-Deen so soon after his acquittal on spurious charges shows that the Egyptian government will use any pretext to keep him behind bars," said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour from Washington, D.C. "We call on the Egyptian authorities to release the journalist immediately and stop harassing him."
Salah el-Deen also worked previously as the news manager of Misr 25, a television channel supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, and hosted a program on the channel, "Matafi 180," that was critical of current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, according to CPJ research. The channel was shut down when former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted. Salah el-Deen was arrested in November 2013 while trying to board a flight to Beirut to look for a job in Lebanon, leading to the 25-year jail sentence.