Journalist Abu Bakr Khallaf was reportedly arrested on Tuesday at the headquarters of Egypt’s Syndicate Union and sent to Qasr Al-Nil police station for interrogation. He faces charges of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Khallaf used to work for Doha-based media organisation Al Jazeera, which is known for its Muslim Brotherhood bias. He is also acting as the managing director of the Electronic Syndicate, an unofficial syndicate launched independently to train and support digital journalists. He was arrested on Tuesday following a previous arrest order.
On 1 July, a TV programme hosted by Ahmed Moussa interviewed journalist Mostafa Bakry which directly attacked the syndicate and claimed it is a terrorist body causing incitement. This occurred without their attempting to interview the syndicate’s chief or any of its members who are mandated to comment on such allegations.
Egypt was holding at least 18 journalists in prison by 1 June according to a census conducted by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Most of the journalists have been accused of belonging to the Brotherhood.
“The crackdown on the press is deepening at a time when the public needs independent reporting on the security threats that Egypt is facing,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. “We call on the authorities to release these journalists immediately and drop all charges against them.”
At least six other journalists were arrested in Cairo on 1 July, but were released on the same day, according to the Journalists Against Torture Observatory. The group also documented four cases last week in which journalists were obstructed from covering events and attacks.