Abdel Nabi was arrested while covering clashes that erupted between pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters and security forces in Alexandria, hours after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was then minister of defense, announced the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
Abdel Nabi is a correspondent for the news website Rassd, which is critical of the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government that subsequently came to power, with el-Sisi as president. Months after Abdel Nabi’s arrest, Egypt’s prosecutor-general accused the banned Muslim Brotherhood of using several media outlets, including Rassd, to support its plot to take over the government and spread lies about the military and the government.
Authorities arrested Abdel Nabi, along with his brother, Ibrahim, while he was photographing the clashes around Sidi Bishr mosque in Alexandria, according to reports by Rassd and other news outlets. Police seized his camera. He was charged with possessing weapons and rioting.
The journalist’s trial began in late 2016, according to the local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory, which sent lawyers to observe the legal proceedings.
Abdel Nabi is being held in Borg el Arab prison on the outskirts of Alexandria. In June 2015, Rassd issued a statement saying the journalist had been beaten in prison and placed in solitary confinement. In November 2016, Abdel Nabi was injured and hospitalized after security forces cracked down on a protest in the prison, according to rights activists. He suffered cuts and bruises, and drifted in and out of consciousness during a visit from his father to the prison hospital, Journalists Against Torture Observatory reported. Before his hospitalization, Abdel Nabi had been on hunger strike to protest conditions in the prison.
As of December 1 2017, Egypt’s Ministry of Interior, which has oversight of the police and prison system, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment about claims of jailed journalists being mistreated.
Abdel Nabi was released from the hospital and sent back to Borg Al-Arab prison in late November 2016, his former cellmate and fellow journalist Abdelrahman Yaqot whom was released in March 2017, told CPJ. He had no lasting injuries or ill health from the beating or the hunger strike, according to his brother, Ahmed Abdelnabi. Abdel Nabi’s trial was on going in late 2017, according to Journalists Against Torture. The court hearings are often postponed, his brother told CPJ in September 2017