Retired Egyptian journalist Tawfik Ghanem (center) was recently arrested on terrorism charges. (Photo: Flickr/Ahmed Abd El-Fatah)

Retired Egyptian journalist Tawfik Ghanem detained on terrorism charges

On May 21, 2021, Egyptian state security forces arrested Tawfik Ghanem, a retired journalist who most recently worked as the Cairo-based regional director of the Turkish news agency Anadolu, according to news reports and one of his lawyers, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.

Authorities arrested Ghanem from his home in Giza, and also confiscated his phone and laptop, according to those sources.

Once in custody, police questioned Ghanem about his previous journalistic work, his political views, and specifically interrogated him about Anadolu’s methods of news gathering and its coverage of Egyptian politics while he was regional director, his lawyer said.

On May 26, prosecutors charged Ghanem with membership in a terrorist group and ordered him to be held in pretrial detention for 15 days, according to the lawyer.

Ghanem worked at Anadolu until 2015, and previously worked as the editor-in-chief of the regional news website Islam Online and contributed to the local newspaper Al-Shorouq, according to his lawyer and CPJ’s review of his work.

Ghanem, 65, has diabetes and takes daily medication, and his current location has not been disclosed, his lawyer said.

CPJ emailed the Ministry of Interior, which oversees the state prosecutor’s office, for comment, but did not receive any reply.

As of December 1, 2020, Egypt held at least 27 journalists in prison for their work, according to CPJ’s prison census.