The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the arrest of Egyptian journalist Mohamed Mounir and called on Egypt to immediately release him.

Mounir, founder of the Front for the Defense of Journalists and Freedoms, was arrested by security forces in the morning of June 15 , and held at an unknown location for several hours before being brought for the investigation before the State Security Prosecution, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights.

According to the journalist’s family, the arrest came after his appearance on a television program on Al-Jazeera, where he discussed a dispute between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the newspaper Rose al- Youssef over a controversial cover page. On Saturday, police reportedly raided the journalist’s apartment twice and searched through his belongings.

“Through arbitrary detention and arrest of journalists, Egyptian government continues to violate and stifle press freedom”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has turned a blind eye to demands for the release of over 60 journalists in prison. The international community should not remain silent to the Egypt’s ongoing harassment of journalists and blatant violation of their rights.”

Currently, there are more than 60 journalists imprisoned in Egypt, according to IPI’s research. Many of those have not been charged and their detention has been repeatedly extended arbitrarily. IPI has been campaigning for their release through its #PressEgypt campaign.

In April, IPI had urged the Egyptian government to release all detained journalists amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. A week later, IPI and 80 other organizations wrote an open letter to heads of government of 10 African countries, including Egypt, to release all journalists held in prison in their respective countries.