The Cairo Criminal Court extended the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Hisham Abdelaziz for the 43rd time for an additional 45 days pending investigation.
Abdelaziz’s detention has been renewed repeatedly despite exceeding the legal period of pretrial detention stated in Egyptian law.
Abdelaziz was arrested at Cairo International Airport on June 20, 2019, accused of “joining a terrorist group”, an accusation often used by the regime in Cairo to crack down on journalists and political dissidents.
He was then subjected to enforced disappearance for almost a month when his family were given no information from the security services regarding his whereabouts or condition.
Six months later, the journalist was released under a 20,000 Egyptian pounds bail, but almost immediately after, he was taken to Cairo’s Hadaiq Al-Qubba police station and subjected to enforced disappearance for nearly a month.
His family later discovered that he was detained in Tora prison under the same charges he was earlier acquitted of.
Last year, Abdelaziz’s health condition worsened after he had glaucoma in his eyes, which required urgent surgery to prevent the complete loss of his eyesight.
He also contracted otosclerosis, a condition that could seriously harm one’s hearing ability.
The ongoing crackdown on journalists since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi assumed power in 2014 has amplified concerns about the safety of the press in Egypt.
According to Reporters Without Borders [RSF], Egypt is one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists, with many spending years in jail and solitary confinement without being formally charged or tried.