Mohamed Ibrahim, a blogger known as Mohamed Oxygen, was initially arrested in April 2018 and detained for over a year. In July 2019 a court released him on probation, but he was taken back into custody in September 2019 on new charges. He was scheduled for release in November 2020, but his detention was extended after prosecutors added a further charge.
Ibrahim had been detained from April 6, 2018, to July 31, 2019, on charges of being a member of a banned group and spreading false news, the regional press freedom group Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) reported.
A Cairo Criminal Court ordered Ibrahim’s release on July 22, 2019, pending the outcome of his trial, and required that he sign in at a police station twice a week, according to ANHRI. Nine days after that ruling, the blogger was released.
On September 21, 2019, police detained Ibrahim went he arrived at the el-Basateen police station in Giza as part of his release conditions, according to the ANRHI and the Regional Center for Rights and Liberties. A few hours before his arrest, Ibrahim had tweeted a list naming demonstrators and journalists who had been detained amid protests over army corruption that included calls on Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to resign.
On October 8, 2019, a Cairo criminal court charged the blogger with membership in a banned group, spreading false news, and misusing social media platforms to disrupt national security, and ordered his detention for 15 days, according to ANHRI. During this hearing, authorities did not allow Ibrahim’s lawyer in court, according to that report.
Between late September and mid-October 2019, authorities charged over 3,690 people with membership of a banned group, spreading false news, and misusing social media platforms to disrupt national security, the local legal non-governmental organization Egyptian Center for Economic & Social Rights reported.
On November 3, 2020, a terrorism court in Cairo ordered the release of at least 300 people held in pretrial detention, including Ibrahim, without revealing the reason for its decision, according to news reports. However, as Ibrahim was waiting to be released, the state prosecutor’s office filed an additional charge against him on November 10, 2020, alleging membership in a terrorist organization, and ordered his detention to be extended pending an investigation into that charge, according to ANHRI and news reports.
On December 20, 2021, the Misdemeanors State Security Emergency Court in Cairo sentenced Ibrahim to four years in prison for spreading false news and undermining state security. On the same day, the court sentenced journalist Alaa Abdelfattah to five years and his lawyer Mohamed al-Baker to four years on the same charges, according to news reports.
In August 2021, Ibrahim attempted suicide in his cell, and his life was saved at the last minute, according to a report by ANHRI and news reports, which did not provide further details of the incident. Prison authorities have denied him family visits and the family does not have information on his health, according to a family friend of the journalist who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
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 Ibrahim’s case in September 2022.