On Wednesday, July 27, the terrorism circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of Al-Jazeera TV journalist Rabie Al-Sheikh, 39, for another 45 days in pretrial detention.
Al-Sheikh has been charged with “joining a terrorist group, and spreading false news” in Case No. 1365 of 2018 (Supreme State Security). These charges are usually used by the Egyptian regime against its critics as a reason to arrest and prosecute them.
Upon his return from Qatar on August 1, 2021, the Egyptian security forces arrested Sheikh in Cairo International Airport and confiscated his passport, mobile, and $5000, according to his family.
Al-Sheikh was detained in a room inside the airport for long hours, before being transferred to the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo in the morning. He was interrogated about his work for Al-Jazeera TV and reasons for his travel to Qatar in the wake of the coup against the late President Mohamed Morsi and why he left his work in “The Seventh Day” newspaper.
Furthermore, the Egyptian authorities have also arrested Al-Jazeera TV journalist Bahaa El-Din Ibrahim, who has been in pretrial detention since February 23, 2020, despite completing the maximum legally prescribed pre-detention period in Egypt.
Since July 3, 2013, journalists in Egypt have been subjected to security restrictions including their arrest for many years and receiving harsh sentences against them.
Over the past years, journalists of Al Jazeera TV have been specifically targeted, and despite allowing Al Jazeera to broadcast in Egypt again, its employees are still in detention.
It is worth noting that Egypt ranks 166 out of 180 among countries that enjoy freedom of the press according to the Press Freedom Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders for 2022. Egypt has ranked third in the list of countries that detain the largest number of journalists after China and Myanmar.