In February 2018, Egyptian journalist Moataz Wadnan conducted an interview. A few days later, he was arrested. After more than a year in temporary custody, Wadan remains in solitary confinement in one of Egypt’s most notorious prisons.
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Journalist #MoatazWadnan has been imprisoned in #Egypt since 2018. I call on Egyptian authorities to #FreeMoataz and all other journalists behind bars! #PressEgypt #JournalismIsNotACrime @AlsisiOfficial
Moataz Wadnan was born in Giza on November 20, 1980, and followed his passion for journalism by joining the investigative team for Al-Dustour newspaper in 2005. Since then, Wadnan has worked with many regional news outlets including Al-Badeel website, Al-Bawaba News and Baladna Today news network with a focus on investigative and political reporting. Prior to his arrest, Wadnan served as the head of the political section of HuffPost Arabi, which has since been shut down.
In February 2018, Wadnan conducted an interview with Hisham Geneina, a senior member of the presidential campaign of Sami Anan, a political rival to Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In the interview, Geneina told Wadnan he possessed secret documents regarding military actions during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Two days after Wadnan published the interview, Geneina was arrested by the Egyptian military. Human rights lawyer Negad El-Borai said in an interview with IPI that Geneina denied telling Wadnan about the documents, but Wadnan had provided prosecutors with a recording of the interview. In April 2018 an Egyptian military court sentenced Geneina to five years in prison for spreading news that could harm the military.
On February 16, 2018, Wadnan and three of his relatives were arrested at a checkpoint outside of Cairo. His relatives were released the same day, and police told them Wadnan had been transferred to the State Security Prosecution Office. However, prosecutors denied having Wadnan in custody. After three days of confusion, one of Wadnan’s lawyers, Ezzat Ghoneim, told the media that the journalist’s whereabouts were unknown.
“It’s a very simple case, and it’s complicated at the same time because of the circumstances in Egypt right now,” said El-Borai. “According to the Egyptian law, if you publish what somebody says, it’s your responsibility too.”