Journalist and former researcher at the Arabic Network for the Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Shaima Sami, was arrested by the Egyptian security forces from her home in Alexandria on May 21, Thursday.
According to the ANHRI, Sami was taken to Alexandria Security Directorate. However, its official Twitter handle said that her whereabouts are yet not known. She was not produced at any of the prosecution offices in Alexandria or Cairo hours after her arrest.
Her arrest comes within a week of another woman journalist, Lina Attalah, editor-in-chief of Mada Masr, being arrested by Egyptian police on May 17. Attalah was later released on bail after a massive public outcry.
Egypt is among the countries with the highest number of jailed journalists. The government led by former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been widely accused of using various forms of repressive measures to silence its critics in the civil society and the media. According to Reporters without Borders, 29 journalists are currently being held in the Egyptian prisons and more than 500 websites have been blocked by the state.
The Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders tweeted on Sami’s arrest, “The new arrest only confirms that the arbitrary arrest campaign targeting journalists is still ongoing. Egypt is among the countries with the highest number of incarcerated journalists, according to @RSF_en, which ranked Egypt 163 out of 180 countries for press freedom in 2019.”
In April, the government imposed a fine of USD 16,000 on Arabic daily Al-Masry Al-Youm for publishing articles critical to the government’s policies in Sinai. The editor in chief of the newspaper, Salah Diab, was banned from writing for three months, Middle East Monitor reported.