Egyptian journalist says home raided, brother arrested

Government critic Mohamed el-Garhy says police raided his parents' house and asked his father for his whereabouts.

    Egypt is among the world's worst jailers of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists [File: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA]
    Egypt is among the world's worst jailers of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists [File: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA]

    An Egyptian journalist known for his critical views of the government has said that police raided his parents' house and arrested his brother.

    Mohamed el-Garhy tweeted that the police went to the home of his parents, who live in a village northeast of Cairo, on Wednesday night and asked his father for his whereabouts.

    When they were told that he was in the city, the police woke up his brother and took him instead.

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    "My brother Yasser has never been interested in politics and has not done anything wrong," el-Garhy wrote on Thursday, mockingly thanking Egyptian authorities for "maltreatment and humiliation".

    The brother's whereabouts were not immediately known, el-Garhy said, and there was no statement from the police.

    Despite the tightening of the grip on independent news media in Egypt, el-Garhy has often voiced criticism of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's government and recently spoke up on his Facebook page in support of Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a prominent political activist who has been jailed for more than a year.

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    Egypt, ranked 163 out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index, remains among the world's worst jailers of journalists, along with Turkey and China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a US-based watchdog.

    In recent years, authorities have jailed dozens of Egyptian reporters and occasionally expelled some foreign journalists from the country.

    And when police fail to find a wanted suspect, family members and relatives have occasionally been arrested instead.

    In November, a prominent Egyptian investigative media outlet, Mada Masr, said security forces arrested one of its editors from his home in Cairo and raided his apartment without showing an arrest warrant.

    Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian national, has been held in an Egyptian prison without charge for three years.

    Since coming to power following a military coup in 2013, el-Sisi, a general-turned-president, has overseen an unprecedented political crackdown, silencing critics and jailing thousands. 

    Rights groups and media watchdogs have repeatedly condemned the mass arrests and crackdown.

    "The rate at which journalists are being arrested is unprecedented since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became president," Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF's Middle East desk, said in a statement last month. 

    "The fact this crackdown on media personnel is continuing although the street protests have been suppressed is all the more worrying."

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies