Last week, journalist Hussein Abdel Halim helped produce a series of blistering news reports that alleged corruption amongst the Egyptian security apparatus. This weekend, Abdel Halim was arrested, according to Egypt’s Ministry of the Interior.
The announcement, made on the ministry’s Facebook page, said that the reporter was taken in on a routine sweep of wanted fugitives. Police laid out charges against Abdel Halim stretching back to 2003, including fraud, theft, bribery and drug allegations.
The post also noted the journalist’s recent reporting for the privately owned newspaper Al Dostour, which translates to “the constitution.” The ministry announced that authorities would launch an investigation into the newspaper’s accusations.
Abdel Halim’s hard-hitting reports over the last week described bribe-taking and sexual harassment at police checkpoints and “inhumane” conditions in prisons. On April 8, a story on the newspaper’s front page alleged that the government was engaged in a cover-up.
President Consortium for Press Freedom (CPF), Malik Ayub Sumbal strongly condemned the arrest of Hussein Abdel Halim and asked the Egyptian authorities to release him immediately so that he can perform his professional responsibilities and objective reporting on the corruptions and other malpractice, which he was unveiling.
Malik said, ” The Press Freedom is Egypt is really a matter of deep concerns for us because the government has a very strict and hard stance to bear the truth and objective reports coming from Egypt.”
In broader civil society, the government of al-Sisi has presided over increasingly repressive speech restrictions and police powers. Tens of thousands of Egyptians have reportedly been arrested over their political affiliations.
The Ministry’s announcement concluded by reaffirming the government’s respect for the media, but ended with a call for the Egyptian press to “carefully choose their reporters.”