Amgad TV presenter Mohamed al-Adly was arrested on August 25, 2013, in the home of the son of a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Samhi Mustafa, co-founder of the news website Rassd, and Rassd Executive Director Abdullah al-Fakharany were arrested with him.
In February 2014, the three were charged with “spreading chaos” and “forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government” during the dispersal of the sit-in at Raba’a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
The prosecutor-general accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using several media outlets, including Rassd and Amgad TV, to support its plot to take over the government and spread lies about the military and the government.
Ahmed Helmy, Mustafa’s lawyer, denied all of the charges against the journalists.
A Cairo criminal court sentenced all three journalists to life in prison on April 11, 2015. They had been tried along with dozens of other defendants including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.
The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for the conviction, according to news reports.
The same month, a Cairo criminal court listed al-Fakharany, Mustafa, and al-Adly on the country’s “terrorism list,” according to news reports. Under Egypt’s counterterrorism law, approved by President el-Sisi in August 2015, individuals convicted of or facing terror charges can be listed on the “terrorism list.” Those listed are banned, for five years, from travelling, renewing passports, and working in the public sector. They are also subject to an asset freeze.
In November 2016, al-Adly was transferred to the Tora prison hospital for treatment of chronic back pain, his sister told local press freedom groups. Later that month, the journalist was transferred from the hospital to Wadi el-Natroun prison, on the Cairo-Alexandria highway. The journalist was transferred back to Tora prison after his recovery, his sister, Eman al-Adly, told CPJ.