Alexandrani, a freelance journalist and researcher whose work focuses on the Sinai Peninsula and Islamist movements in Egypt, was arrested at Hurghada airport upon his return from Berlin, on November 29, 2015, according to news reports. He was questioned by national security agents in Hurghada before being transferred to Cairo two days later, his wife, Khadeega Gaafar, told CPJ.
Alexandrani has been held without trial since his arrest. His detention is renewed by prosecutors every 45 days.
On December 1 and 7, 2015, homeland security prosecutors questioned Alexandrani for more than nine hours and charged him with belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, promoting the purposes of that group, and intentionally disseminating false information, according to local rights groups and statements made by Alexandrani's lawyers, who were present for the questioning.
The journalist was interrogated again by homeland security officers--also known as national security officers--inside Tora prison later in December 2015.
Alexandrani has written critically of the Egyptian military's efforts to combat extremist militias in the Sinai Peninsula, including for independent newspapers al-Safir and al-Modon, both based in Lebanon. He has also written for the Egyptian newspaper al-Badil. Government censorship and intimidation has resulted in scarce independent reporting about fighting in the peninsula and its toll on the civilian population.
Alexandrani was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center's Middle East Program in Washington, D.C in the spring of 2015. After leaving the U.S., he moved to Turkey and gave several talks in Berlin and other European cities. The journalist knew he risked arrest for his writing upon returning to Egypt, but was compelled to return for a family emergency, according to statements made by his friends on social media and in news reports.
The journalist's wife, Khadeega Gaafar, told CPJ that she is able to visit Alexandrani in Tora prison, where he is being held.
No trial date had been set as of late in 2017, according to the journalist’s family.