Ahmed Tarek Ibrahim Ziada

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Egyptian authorities arrested Ahmed Tarek Ibrahim Ziada at his family home in Nahia, a village north of Cairo, on February 18, 2018, according to news reports.

The journalist was arrested on charges of spreading false news and joining a banned group, according to the reports. The charges are in connection to his role as editor of a critical documentary film in production, called "Minus 1095 Days," the reports said. A prosecutor also ordered the arrest of the film’s director, Salma Alaa’ Eddin Akl, but she went into hiding, according to the reports.

They were making the film to rebut claims in a state-produced film, "1095 Days,” that highlights President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s accomplishments in office, according to news reports.  

Reports said the pair were accused of being members of the anti-government April 6 Youth Movement, which was formed in the wake of 2008 labor protests and was at the forefront of 2011 demonstrations that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak and has since been active against el-Sisi’s government.

On March 5, 2018, the State Security Prosecution ordered Ziada to be detained for 15 days. The pretrial detention period was repeatedly renewed until July 3, when Ziada was referred to criminal court, according to local press freedom and human rights groups.

Some lawyers and pro-government media in Egypt say that under the law, national security prosecutors can repeatedly renew 15-day detention periods for up to six months. An appeals court can then decide to release the defendant or issue 45-day detention periods that can be repeatedly renewed until a trial begins.

On September 25, 2018 a Cairo criminal court refused Ziada’s appeal for release, the local press freedom group Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) reported.

Ziada is being held in Tora prison, the reports said.