Egyptian journalist Mostafa Mohamed Saad has been held in pretrial detention in Cairo on terrorism and false news charges since 2019.
Saad is a senior cameraman for Qatari broadcasting network Al-Jazeera, where he covered regional culture and political news. Over the past 10 years, Saad has worked as a camera operator for Egyptian and regional news and entertainment networks including Dream TV, ART, Orbit, Sada al-Balad, Modern Sport, and ONTV, according to a news report by local Egyptian independent news website Darb and a local Egyptian journalist who is following the case and spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
On November 8, 2019, Egyptian security forces arrested Saad at Cairo International Airport upon his return from Doha, Qatar, where he lives, according to those sources. Saad is charged with spreading false news, which can carry a five year sentence according to Egypt’s penal code, and belonging to a terrorist group, which can carry a life sentence.
Saad, who also holds Turkish citizenship, is held in Abu Zaabal Prison outside Cairo and he suffers from severe heart problems and hemorrhoids. He needs surgery for both conditions and has not received medical care in prison, according to the same sources.
Saad was not previously included in CPJ’s prison census because his case was not publicized until October 2022, when Darb published a letter Saad sent to the Presidential Pardon Committee requesting a pardon.
Egypt banned all Al-Jazeera operations in 2013 and has imprisoned several Al-Jazeera journalists, including producer Rabie al-Sheikh, who was arrested in August 2021 in Cairo International Airport upon his return to Egypt from Doha, on false news charges.
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 Saad’s case in November 2022.