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The New Arab Staff

Egyptian journalist detained upon return to Cairo

It is unclear what charges Jaml faces [Getty[

Date of publication: 1 March, 2021

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Exiled writer Jamal al-Jaml disappeared upon his return to Cairo late last month and resurfaced on Saturday before the State Security prosecution.
An Egyptian exile was detained following his return to Cairo late last month, becoming the latest journalist to be arrested amid an ongoing crackdown on independent media.

Jamal al-Jaml has not been heard from since he boarded a flight from Istanbul to Cairo on February 22, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

His son said Jaml was "tired" after years living outside of Egypt and wanted to return.

The journalist fled Egypt after receiving threats from officials over articles critical of the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who rose to power in a 2013 military coup.

Jaml was initially a supporter of Sisi but later became critical of the authoritarian president, according to local media reports.

While living in Turkey, he hosted a programme on the opposition Al-Sharq television channel and appeared as a commentator on Al-Jazeera. On his Facebook page, Jaml frequently complained about the poor living conditions of exiled Egyptians.

"My father was tired and wanted to come back to Egypt. The moment he reached the Cairo International Airport, he disappeared mysteriously and we could not reach him," his son Baha wrote on Facebook.

He later resurfaced before an Egyptian State Security prosecutor on Saturday evening, Al-Jazeera reported. It is unclear what charges the journalist faces.

Unconfirmed news reports say Jaml was transfered to Cairo's notorious Tora prison.

Egyptians abroad have condemned Jaml's detention, with some pointing to a recent plea by a government-linked broadcaster for the journalist to return home and act as an opposition figure in Egypt.

Cairo has aggressively clamped down on independent journalism and dissent since 2013, arresting thousands of activists, Islamists, journalists and lawyers.

Many of the estimated 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt are held under indefinite pretrial detention orders.

The country ranks 166th out of 180 countries in media watchdog Reporters Without Borders' 2020 world press freedom index.

The Committee to Protect Journalist ranks Egypt as the third most prolific jailer of journalists behind China and Turkey.

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