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 Jamal Al-Jaml and demanded his immediate release.

Al-Jaml, who is known for his criticism of the Egyptian government, was arrested on February 22 upon his arrival at Cairo airport from Istanbul, Turkey. His whereabouts remained unknown until his appearance on February 27 at the State Security Prosecution office for an investigation.

“Egypt should stop harassing and arresting independent journalists and uphold the rule of law”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “Journalism is not a crime and the international community should stop turning a blind eye to the gross violations of press freedom and incarceration of journalists in the country.”

Al-Jaml  is one of the accused in case 997 of 2017, famously known in the media as “Mekameleen 2”,  which the Egyptian government filed against individuals whom it accused of  belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and of incitement against state institutions.

Al-Jaml, who was one of the supporters of the July 2013 protests against late president Mohamed Morsi, had gone into exile after an alleged warning phone call from Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in 2014 threatening him following an article he wrote for Al Masry Al Youm criticizing Egypt’s governance. Since then, he was based in London and wrote for Arabi21 news.

According to IPI data collected as part of its #PressEgypt campaign, more than 60 journalists are currently imprisoned in Egypt. Last month IPI called for the release  of Egyptian cartoonist Ashraf Hamdi, who has been arrested and detained for “misusing social media and spreading false news” on January 25.

IPI member and Al Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Hussein was released last month after four years behind bars. The move came just over a month after IPI published a full-page ad in The Washington Post calling for his release.