On November 8th, Egyptian journalist Hossam Bahgat was detained by the country’s Military Intelligence in what is being called as yet ‘another nail in the coffin for freedom of expression in Egypt.’
Bahgat was summoned by the Military Intelligence of Egypt and had to submit himself without lawyers or his phone at 9 am. He has been charged by Military Prosecution for ‘publishing and disseminating false information that disturbs public peace and national interests.’
Hossam Bahgat writes for Mada Masr which is an independent English-Arabic website that publishes news and opinion. He is also the founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. He has most likely been arrested for his work on Mada Masr. Just last month, he published an expose on a covered up military trial. This trial convicted 26 military officers who were accused of plotting ‘regime change’ with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The arrest of Bahgat, a Human Rights Watch awardee and Arab Spring participant has been widely condemned. It comes at a time of investigation into the Russian aircraft crash where president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is facing scrutiny. Ironically, just before Bahgat was taken, on Sunday Sisi in a BBC interview said that ‘no one is oppressed in Egypt’, and that ‘the will to practice democracy’ was available for all Egyptians.
Hossam Bahgat was released on Tuesday, the 10th of November after two days of detention to much rejoicing among his friends and colleagues.