Khaled Daoud, a columnist and freelance journalist, is one of several journalists arrested as part of a mass trial in which thousands of people were charged with false news and anti-state crimes.
As of mid-October 2019, Egypt had charged over 3,690 people with membership in a banned group, spreading false news, and misusing social media platforms to disrupt national security, the local non-governmental organization Egyptian Center for Economic & Social Rights reported. Daoud’s arrest was part of a wave of arrests ahead of protests planned in several cities over corruption in the army and which called on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to resign, according to news reports.
Daoud is the deputy chief editor of the state-owned English newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly, and a freelance journalist and columnist, according to the local independent news outlet Masr al-Arabia, where he published some of his writing on politics, human rights, and corruption. Daoud also worked as Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in New York from 2006 until 2011, and was a former spokesperson for the al-Dostour opposition party, according to Masr al-Arabia. Daoud featured frequently as a political commentator, including with the German news agency DW and France’s Radio Monte Carlo.
Authorities arrested Daoud at his home in Cairo on September 25, 2019, according to a public Facebook post from human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, and the local press freedom group the Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and Media.
Following his arrest, National Security Forces referred Daoud to the state security prosecutor on September 25, 2019. The prosecutor ordered Daoud to be detained for 15 days, according to the Regional Center for Rights and Liberties and Ali’s Facebook post. Daoud’s detention has been repeatedly renewed, according to Walid al-Amary, spokesperson of the al-Dostour opposition party and Daoud’s friend. Al-Amary said Daoud recently appeared before a court on July 26, 2020 when his pretrial detention was renewed for 45 days.
Daoud is facing charges of membership in a banned group, spreading false news, and misusing social media platforms to disrupt national security, according to press freedom advocate Khaled el-Balshy.
As of late 2020, the prosecutor had not presented evidence against Daoud, a member of the Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and Media, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, told CPJ.
On March 10, 2020, the Ministry of Interior banned visitors, including family members and lawyers, from entering prisons as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19; since August 22, visitors have been allowed on a limited basis, according to news reports.
One of Daoud’s brothers visited him in August for the first time since the ban was imposed, and he reported that the journalist has no health issues, according to al-Amary. On May 15, the Ministry of Interior granted Daoud a furlough to attend his sister’s funeral, according to news reports.
The Ministry of Interior, which oversees the police, the prison system, and the prosecutor general’s office, did not answer CPJ’s emails requesting comment on Daoud in September 2020.