Egypt: Journalist imprisoned for criticising president amid campaign of mass arrests ahead of COP27

Manal Ajrama, deputy editor of the state-run Radio and Television Magazine and a member of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, was jailed for 15 days on November 3 for criticising Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on her social media. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns her arrest and the campaign of mass arrests launched by the Egyptian authorities to silence journalists and activists ahead of the COP27 climate summit.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi takes part in the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference on November 1, 2021. Credit: Yves Herman / AFP

Security forces arrested 61-year-old Ajrama, on November 1 at her home in Cairo, after she criticised Egyptian President Al-Sisi on her social media account. On November 3, she was sentenced to 15 days in jail and transferred to Al-Qanater prison, where several female journalists and activists are held. 

Ahead of the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Egypt, there are several global actions organised to demand the release of all imprisoned journalists and activists, including a call for a demonstration on November 11 against Al-Sisi's oppressive rule. In response, the government has launched a campaign of mass arrests to prevent any demonstrations coinciding with the climate conference.

At least 25 journalists and media workers are imprisoned in Egypt for simply carrying out their professional duties, according to IFJ statistics. 

“The detention of journalists is part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests of Egyptian journalists, activists and academics aimed at shutting down any criticism of the government”, declared IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. “Although Egypt is the venue of this year's COP27, a just transition cannot be achieved without freedom of expression. We urge the Egyptian authorities to stop targeting media workers and release all arrested journalists without delay.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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