Egyptian journalist Islam al-Kalhy is detained on charges of joining a banned group and spreading false news.
Al-Kalhy covers political prisoners, workers’ rights, corruption, and other political issues for Darb, according to a colleague of al-Kalhy’s who spoke with CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. In the past, al-Kalhy also contributed to local news websites Badil, Al-Bedaya, Al-Wady, and Raseef22, according to al-Kalhy’s colleague.
On September 9, security forces arrested al-Kalhy while he was covering protests in the Al-Monib neighborhood of Giza over the death of a young man, Islam al-Australi, in police custody, according to a statement by his employer. On September 10, prosecutors charged him with spreading false news and joining a banned group and ordered his detention for 15 days pending an investigation, according to al-Kalhy’s colleague and the statement.
Authorities blocked Darb’s website on April 9, just one month after the outlet launched, without giving any reason, al-Kalhy’s colleague at Darb told CPJ; he confirmed that he could not access Darb in Egypt without using virtual private network software. CPJ was able to access the website from the U.S.
Al-Kalhy is held in the Giza Central Prison in Greater Cairo and he has no health problems, according to his colleague who spoke with CPJ.
The Ministry of Interior, which has oversight of the police, the prison system, and the prosecutor general’s office, did not answer CPJ’s emails requesting comment on al-Kalhy in September 2020.