Egyptian journalist Abdullah Sousha was arrested on September 22, 2013, on multiple anti-state charges while covering protests in the city of Ismailiya. In 2019, Shousha was acquitted of all charges and was set to be released, but prosecutors filed additional terrorism charges against him and ordered his continued detention.
Shousha worked as a correspondent and cameraman for Amgad TV, a privately owned Islamist channel which closed in June 2013, according to a local journalist who spoke to CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Shousha also provided photos and footage to the local opposition news outlet Rassd, according to the same journalist and Shousha’s Facebook page, which was no longer online as of late 2021. Shousha also has a YouTube channel where he used to post his video coverage of protests in August 2013 by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi, whom the military had removed from power the previous month.
A month before his arrest, Shousha filmed an unarmed protester being shot by Egyptian armed forces in Ismailiya. The footage was aired by numerous television channels and by late 2021 had been viewed over 620,000 times on Shousha’s YouTube page. The local journalist who spoke with CPJ said that he believes that Shousha’s arrest stems from his YouTube coverage of the August 2013 protests.
In 2013, prosecutors charged Shousha with "incitement to violence," "participating in an illegal protest," and "incitement against the ruling government" and ordered him held in pre-trial detention, according to a report by local rights group the Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and Media, and news reports.
On April 17, 2016, a criminal court found the journalist guilty of all charges and sentenced him to two years in prison, according to a report that month by now-shuttered regional rights group Journalists Against Torture. The court also convicted him of raising what is known as the "Raba’a Sign," a four-finger salute meant to commemorate the deaths of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters during the violent dispersal of a sit-in at Raba’a al-Adawiya square in August 2013, according to that report and the local journalist. Authorities banned the sign in 2016, according to reports.
Shousha served his two-year sentence but remained in custody because in 2016 he had also been named a defendant in what was known as the "Cell Cluster" case in which 89 people were accused of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, setting fire to vehicles belonging to members of the police force and the judiciary in Ismailiya, and belonging to armed groups, according to news reports and the Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and Media.
An Ismailiya court acquitted Shousha of all charges in the “Cell Cluster” case on April 2, 2019, and ordered his release, according to a report by the Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and Media. Authorities started his release procedures that month and did not disclose his location to his family or lawyer until June 2019, when prosecutors filed a new terrorism charge against him and ordered him to remain in detention, according to news reports.
Since then, prosecutors repeatedly have renewed Shousha’s pretrial detention by 45 days, including on November 3, according to a Facebook post by regional rights group the Regional Center for Rights and Liberties, and the local journalist who spoke with CPJ.
As of late October 2021, Shousha is held in Tora prison in Cairo; he suffers from asthma and high blood sugar, according to news reports and the same local journalist who said that Shousha has been denied medical care in prison.
The Ministry of Interior, which oversees the police, the prison system, and the prosecutor general’s office, did not answer CPJ’s emails requesting comment on Shousha’s case in November 2021.
CPJ did not include Shousha in its 2019 and 2020 censuses because it was unaware that prosecutors had added the new terrorism charge and continued to hold him following his 2019 acquittal. CPJ is including him again in 2021 after confirming that he is still in prison.