Aziz, 28, a blogger, wrote a number of pieces criticizing the state security apparatus and local religious officials. He also wrote about social, political, and Coptic minority issues. After he posted a link to a novel considered offensive to Islam, police arrested him on suspicion that he was actually the book’s anonymous author.
Although it became clear that Aziz was not the novel’s author, authorities continued to hold him because of his journalism, according to his attorneys at the legal aid unit of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. His lawyers were prevented from visiting Aziz on multiple occasions, most recently in July. Despite three judicial orders for his release, Aziz remained in custody in late year under the country’s Emergency Law. His lawyers said he was mistreated in prison and was pressured to convert to Islam. All of the material on Aziz’s blog was deleted by an unidentified party.