New York, August 25, 2022—Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Raouf Ebeid and drop the charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
On July 7, state security forces arrested Ebeid, a reporter for state-owned weekly print newspaper Rose al-Yousef, from his home in Cairo, and detained him in an unknown location until July 18, when he appeared before the state prosecutor, according to a report by the local news website Darb and a local journalist, who is also a press freedom advocate, who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
The journalist’s family first disclosed his arrest in that Darb report, published on Wednesday, August 24.
On July 18, the state prosecutor charged Ebeid with belonging to a terrorist group and spreading false news, without stating the reason for the charges, according to those sources. Authorities ordered him to be detained for 15 days, held him until August 21, and then renewed his detention for another 15 days, according to the journalist who spoke with CPJ.
“President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government is not fooling anyone into thinking it respects press freedom by releasing a few journalists this year, since it continues to arrest more,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour in Washington, D.C. “Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Raouf Ebeid, drop all charges against him, and allow journalists to work freely and without fear of arrest.”
The journalist who spoke to CPJ said that Ebeid is being held in Al-Qanater Prison, in Cairo, and that Ebeid is diabetic and was not receiving any medical care in prison.
If convicted of belonging to a terrorist group, he could face a life sentence; convictions for spreading false news carry up to five years in prison, according to Egypt’s penal code.
The Egyptian Ministry of Interior did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Ebeid’s case.