An Egyptian police vehicle is seen in Cairo on January 17, 2023. Authorities recently arrested journalist Karim Asaad in Cairo. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Egyptian journalist Karim Asaad’s whereabouts unknown following arrest

New York, August 20, 2023 – The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Egyptian authorities to immediately release journalist Karim Asaad following his arrest on Saturday, August 19.

“By arresting Karim Asaad, the Egyptian government has once again demonstrated its shameful dedication to cracking down on independent journalism and press freedom in the country,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, in Washington, D.C. “Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Asaad, as well as all other journalists held unjustly for their work.”

On Saturday, armed state security officers in plainclothes arrested Asaad, an investigative reporter for the independent fact-checking and news website Matsda2sh, at his home in Cairo. Officers assaulted the journalist’s wife and child while raiding his home, according to a statement by Matsda2sh and news reports.

The day before Asaad’s arrest, Matsda2sh published reports alleging that a number of people affiliated with the Egyptian security services had been arrested in Zambia, and a private plane carrying them had been seized.

As of the time of publication, authorities had not disclosed where the journalist is being held or the reason for his arrest, according to a local journalist familiar with his case, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.

CPJ emailed the Ministry of Interior for comment but did not receive any response. At least 21 journalists were imprisoned in Egypt at the time of CPJ’s December 1, 2022, prison census.