Police arrested Shorouk Amgad, a freelance photographer, on April 25, 2018, along with two of her friends in downtown Cairo, according to the Arab Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), AFTE, and other news sources. The next day, a Nasr City national security prosecutor ordered the journalist to be detained on charges of joining a banned group and spreading false news, her lawyer, Israa Al-Kurdi, told Mada Masr. Prosecutors have repeatedly renewed her 15-day detention period, according to news reports.
Amgad’s work appeared in the pro-government daily Al-Watan, AFTE and other news sources reported.
Her fiancé is Ahmed al-Sakhawi, a freelance journalist arrested in September 2017 on charges of "disseminating false news" and "belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood," according to news reports. She spoke with CPJ last year about his harsh treatment in custody.
Al-Kurdi told Mada Masr that Amgad’s defense of her fiancé could be one of the reasons behind her arrest. The lawyer told the website Fakar Tany in July that Amgad had communicated on al-Sakhawi’s behalf and disseminated information about his arrest on social media accounts.
AFTE’s lawyer Mokhtar Monir said that at the time of her arrest, Amgad had her camera with her. The prosecutor didn’t specify any specific reports against Amgad to justify the charges against her, the lawyer said.
On August 24, Amgad’s mother told the opposition TV channel Mekameleen she was allowed to visit her daughter in al-Qanater prison.
Amgad is one of several journalists arrested as part of a larger crackdown and trial known as case 441, in which dozens of defendants in a mass trial face charges of spreading false news and being a member of a banned group.
The trial came as Egypt’s crackdown on the press deepened in 2018; authorities ratcheted up their rhetoric against media outlets as President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ran for and won re-election. Government officials and media regulators threatened the media with fines and prosecutors detained journalists for allegedly spreading false news.
Late in 2018, the Ministry of Interior, which has oversight of the police and prison system, and the prosecutor general’s office had not answered CPJ’s requests for comment sent via email.