Egypt detains prominent blogger, latest in arrest series

Leslie Hanson
May 23, 2018

Wael Abbas, a prominent Egyptian activist and blogger, has been reportedly arrested, as he wrote via his personal Facebook account on May 23, at 4 am. It says he was blindfolded before being taken to an unknown location.

Abbas was banned from Twitter previous year, which Egyptian official newspaper al-Ahram reported was for "intention to incite violence", while his YouTube account was taken down in 2007.

Egypt has arrested a number of secular activists since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi won re-election in March in a vote in which he faced no serious challengers.

A statement from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), which Mr Eid heads, said Mr Abbas's home in Cairo was raided at dawn by heavily armed police officers who did not show a warrant or give any reasons for detaining him.

"Turning people's homes into rubble is part of the same self-defeating security plan that has restricted food and movement to inflict pain on Sinai residents", said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Concern has been rising over the Egyptian authorities abuse carried out against the media and journalists with the use of arbitrary detention and disappearance on the rise.

"He doesn't budge and has been doing what many of us can no longer do".

Abbas, who was always known for anti-government stance and his role in documenting the 2011 uprising against the Mubarak regime, had his Twitter account recently suspended with more than 250,000 tweets deleted including pictures, videos and live streams from Egypt.

His Youtube, Yahoo and Twitter accounts were closed. His Facebook account, which continues to work until today, has been hacked, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Journalists have come under particularly stringent crackdowns, as just last month Egyptian freelancer Ismail Alexandrani was sentenced to ten years in prison by a military court in Cairo for being a member of a banned organisation and spreading false news.

Alexandrani, an expert on jihadism in the Sinai peninsula, was arrested in November 2015 and accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. "After July 2013, many Egyptian intellectuals left the country, believing that it is almost impossible to work in a needle sized margin of academic and journalistic freedom".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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