Egypt: Author Arrested Over Book Challenging President el-Sissi

Abdel-Khaleq Farouq was arrested by an arrest warrant of the Supreme State Security Prosecutions on October 21, 2018, alongside his publisher Ibrahim el-Khateib. The cause for the arrest is his latest book named: “Is Egypt Really a Poor Country?”, in which he challenges the economic policies of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. According to AP, Farouq was accused of spreading “fake news”, panelised in Egypt by up to 3 years imprisonment.

Farouq, a 61- year-old author specializing in economics, has published more than 20 books. The book in question was yet to be published and was reported to be confiscated by authorities before reaching to the public. As a response, Farouq made his book available online for free, stirring an online sensation. The main argument of the book is that the government refrains from investing positive economics efforts due to the perception that Egypt is a poor country, while in fact it is rich in resources

According to the Freedom House’s report, Egypt heavily restricts freedom of the press in the country. It was announced the world’s third-worst jailer of journalists in 2016 by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In 2017, Egypt’s government enlisted two independent newspapers (Al-Borsa and Daily News Egypt), and two independent news websites (Misr al-Arabiya and Cairo Portal), in the terrorist entities lists. According to HRW, more than 425 websites have been blocked by the end of 2017, including rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and RSF.

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