Egyptian blogger and freelance journalist Abdo Fayed is one of several journalists arrested in 2020 after reporting or commenting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt.
Fayed, a commentator on international relations, has written for the independent online outlet Al-Manassa, the regional private news website Ida2at, and the privately owned pro-government news website Al-Shorouq. Al-Manassa is blocked in Egypt as of late 2021, according to CPJ’s review of the site.
Fayed also had a Facebook page where he covered topics related to international relations and the global political economy, among others, according to a friend of the journalist who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. Fayed’s Facebook page, which had thousands of followers, has now been closed, according to Fayed’s friend.
At 1:30 a.m. on May 26, 2020, officers arrested Fayed at his home in Al-Haram neighborhood in Greater Cairo, according to news reports. During the interrogation following his arrest, authorities questioned him about a Facebook post in which he criticized the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his friends and news reports.
For five days after his arrest, Fayed’s family did not know his whereabouts and sent multiple messages to the attorney general via telegram machine demanding to know the journalist’s location but received no response, according to Al-Manassa and other reports.
On May 31, 2020, the state prosecutor’s office charged him with joining a terrorist organization and spreading false news, news reports said. Since then, prosecutors have repeatedly extended Fayed’s pretrial detention by 45 days, according to regional rights group the Regional Center for Rights and Liberties, and Fayed’s friend.
Fayed is held in the Giza Central Prison in Greater Cairo, and he has no health problems, according to his friend, who was in touch with the journalist’s parents after their visit in September 2021.
As of September 2021, no trial date had been set in Fayed’s case, according to Fayed’s friend who is in touch with his lawyer. CPJ tried contacting Fayed’s lawyer directly via messaging app but did not receive any response.
In September 2021, CPJ emailed the Ministry of Interior, which oversees the police, the prison system, and the prosecutor general’s office about Fayed, but did not receive a reply.