Retired journalist Tawfik Ghanem was arrested from his home in May 2021 and is detained on terrorism charges; authorities have questioned him about his past journalistic work.
Ghanem retired as the regional manager of Turkish news agency Anadolu in 2015; before that he was the chief editor of regional news website Islam Online and contributed to local newspaper Al-Shorouq, according to one of Ghanem’s lawyers who spoke with CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. Ghanem covered different local and regional political and cultural stories for all of these outlets.
On May 21, state security officers arrested Ghanem from his home in Giza, after raiding it and confiscating his laptop, according to a Facebook statement by Ghanem’s family, news reports, and the journalist’s lawyer.
Police interrogated Ghanem about his political views and his work with Anadolu and its methods of news gathering; they were specifically interested in its coverage of Egyptian politics while Ghanem was its regional manager, according to the journalist’s lawyer. The lawyer said that Ghanem has not worked in journalism since 2015.
On May 26, the state prosecutor’s office charged Ghanem with membership of a terrorist group and ordered his detention for 15 days pending trial; prosecutors repeatedly renewed the journalist’s detention every 15 days, the lawyer said.
The journalist is held in Tora prison in Cairo, and he suffers from diabetes, an enlarged prostate, nerve inflammation in his legs, and knee and lower back problems, according to the lawyer. Ghanem’s family is able to visit him in prison and brings him medication as prison authorities are not providing him medical care, the lawyer said.
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 Ghanem’s case in late 2021.