Abu Ouf, deputy editor-in-chief of Al-Mesryoon, was arrested during a pre-dawn raid by security forces on his house in the governorate of Qalyubeya, according to his family and outlet. Security forces confiscated Abu Ouf’s laptop as well as copies of Al-Mesryoon, a privately owned newspaper which is critical of the Egyptian government.
Prosecutors ordered the journalist to be held in pre-trial detention on charges of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, according to reports.
The journalist’s outlet and his family have said in news reports that while Abu Ouf wrote about Islamist movements, he was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or any Islamist group. The Egyptian Journalists Syndicate has called for his release.
Abu Ouf has used sources from Islamic and jihadist groups, which may be the reason for his arrest, a journalist who knows him and who asked to remain anonymous out of security concerns, told CPJ. Abu Ouf has led coverage of Islamist political parties and movements at Al Mesryoon since the paper was founded in 2005, the journalist said. Abu Ouf was critical both of the leadership of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who took power after the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, and Mohamed Morsi, who preceded him, the journalist said.
The Egyptian government interfered with the printing of Al-Mesryoon earlier in 2015, over content critical of el-Sisi.
Abu Ouf is being held in Qanater el-Khaira police station in Qalybeya, according to reports. No trial date had been set in late 2015.