Egyptian journalist Ahmed Allaam is one of several journalists who were 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, economic, and human rights issues, according to Allaam’s 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, 2020, 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 period by 45 days including on August 23, 2021, according to local rights group the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights.
Allaam is held in Al-Qanatir Prison in Cairo, and in 2020 he 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. He did not provide details on whether the journalist has been able to receive treatment for his condition in prison.
CPJ was unable to determine Allaam’s current health status 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 Allaam in September 2021.