The head of an Egyptian human rights NGO was detained Saturday following a police raid on the office of Cairo-based web station Radio Horytna.
Ahmed Samih, director of the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, was detained following a raid on the station which is based at the Andalus centre, according to a statement from the organisation.
The station reported that the police took Samih to the Sayeda Zeinab prosecution “to complete the investigation, we don’t know yet what the charges against him are”.
Samih confirmed his arrest via a message on a social network platform. Phone calls to the Andalus Institute and Radio Horytna were not answered.
“The police searched the office and investigated the staff on how they produce news, choose content, as well as relationships to other groups and political movements,” the statement continued.
Whilst the Radio’s focus is human rights, it maintains it has no political affiliation. According to its website, it “aims to serve the community through the culture of human rights, the concepts of democracy and citizenship, the spirit of tolerance”.
Samih is a well-known figure in Egypt’s NGO community, and has worked in human rights and election monitoring, as well as projects that support freedom of thought and religion.
Since the administration of General-turned-President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power, there has been an ongoing crackdown on the operations of non-state civil organisations. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has closed down hundreds of NGOs across the country, primarily those claimed to be associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. A decree was also passed that forces all organisations to work under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.