Egyptian journalist Ahmed Allaam was arrested in 2020 after reporting on the impact of the COVID-19 virus on Egypt.
Allaam is a reporter for the local print newspaper Al-Karama, where he covers politics, economics, and human rights issues, according to his lawyer, Nabih el-Ganadi, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app. The journalist is also a freelance documentary producer who has contributed to the local CBC and Safeer TV networks and Lebanese network Al-Mayadeen, according to el-Ganadi.
On April 21, 2020, state security forces arrested Allaam at his house in Giza, according to el-Ganadi and news reports. El-Ganadi told CPJ that the journalist was held incommunicado for six days. On April 27, prosecutors charged Allaam with joining a terrorist organization, spreading false news, and misusing social media, and ordered his detention pending investigation, according to el-Ganadi and those reports.
Authorities questioned Allaam about his freelance video coverage of COVID-19 in Egypt, according to three local journalists who spoke with CPJ at the time on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
Prosecutors have repeatedly extended Allaam’s pretrial detention by 45-day increments, according to local rights group the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights. As of late 2022, he was being held in the Al-Qanatir Prison in Cairo, according to a local journalist familiar with Allaam’s case, who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
In 2021, Allaam suffered from a stomach ulcer that he had prior to his arrest, according to the journalist’s friend Khaled Telema, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app. CPJ was unable to determine the status of Allaam’s health in 2022.
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 Allaam in September 2022.