Journalism student and photographer-in-training Ahmed Mansi was arrested while filming a funeral procession in the historic neighborhood of Islamic Cairo on July 5, 2016, according to news reports and local press freedom groups citing eyewitnesses and the journalist’s family. The funeral was for the brother of the counsel to the grand Mufti of al-Azhar University, Egypt’s most prominent Islamic institution, according to news reports.
On July 12, Mansi’s family filed a complaint with the general prosecutor and the Ministry of Interior, saying that he had been arrested and that they did not know of his whereabouts.
On September 5, Mansi appeared before prosecutors at the Sayyeda Zeinab police station in Cairo, and prosecutors ordered him detained for 15 days, according to local press freedom groups quoting his family. According to the Journalists Against Torture Observatory, this marked the first time Mansi officially appeared as a documented detainee in the justice system.
Mansi was charged with belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and working for international broadcaster Al Jazeera and pro-opposition television channel Mekameleen. Al Jazeera is banned on the accusation that it uses its reporting to serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports and press freedom groups. Mekameleen is pro-Muslim Brotherhood and came under fire in early 2015 for airing leaked recordings, allegedly of President Abel Fattah el-Sisi deriding Persian Gulf leaders. Al Jazeera and Mekameleen did not respond to CPJ’s inquiries about whether Mansi was affiliated with the channels.
In a telephone interview she gave to Mekameleen, Mansi’s mother said he had been filming for a journalism school assignment when he was arrested. Mansi studies journalism at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, according to social media and news reports.
Mansi is also in training as a photographer with the privately owned newspaper, Sawt al-Ummah, according to news reports and local press freedom groups. CPJ’s messages to the outlet were not answered.
Prosecutors periodically renew Mansi’s pre-trial detention. No trial date had been set as of late 2016. He is being held in Tora prison.