Human rights defender Hossam Bahgat detained by Egyptian authorities

09 November 2015

On the 5th November Hossam Bahgat, journalist and founder of human rights group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, received a summons from Military Intelligence. 

He attended their headquarters on Sunday morning where he was interrogated, without legal counsel, for many hours. Today Military Prosecution ordered his detention for four days.  It is not known where he is being detained.

And the heinous crime for which he is being punished?  Hossam has published on Mada Masr a series of investigative reports – the latest of which focused on the secret military trial of 26 officers for plotting "regime change". 

The charges are said to be “deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest” and “publishing, with malicious intent, false news that is likely to disturb public order.”

What they are is yet another attempt by the Egyptian authorities to stifle free expression and crush independent media – the cornerstone of any free society.

How can any State expect to be taken seriously on the international stage when it responds to critical journalism in such a way? 

Locking up human rights defenders is a tactic of tyrants and despots and the Egyptian people deserve better. Hossam Bahgat must be freed immediately, without charge and we call on our Government to use its influence with the Egyptian authorities to demand his release.