Egyptian journalist addresses authorities over forcibly disappeared opposition party member

Egyptian journalist addresses authorities over forcibly disappeared opposition party member
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
08 February, 2022
Prominent Egyptian journalist Khaled Dawoud addressed President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in an open letter posted on Facebook, calling on him to disclose the location of Haitham El-Banna, who has been missing since January 30.
Human rights groups have documented dozens of forced disappearances in Egypt since Sisi took office in 2014. [Getty]

Prominent Egyptian journalist Khaled Dawoud addressed in a Facebook post on Monday President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and other top officials over the fate of Al-Dostour opposition party member Haitham El-Banna.  

He is believed to have been arrested after commemorating the anniversary of the January 25 revolution in a post on his Facebook page and has been held incommunicado since January 30. 

In his open letter, Dawoud, also the deputy chief editor of English language state-run Al-Ahram weekly and former Al-Dostour party leader, addressed Sisi, the interior minister and the public prosecutor.

“El-Banna was arrested at midnight and the policemen informed his mother and sister that he would be taken to the nearby police station for questioning,” he wrote.

“It all has to do with the basic... constitutional rights dictated by the law that stipulates the indicted’s right to appear before the prosecution within 24 hours of being arrested and confronted with the charges,” continued Dawoud.

“These are law articles that guarantee our rights. And any citizen can face a similar experience if the concerned authorities do not immediately disclose the location of Haitham El-Banna and facilitate for a lawyer to be present with him, and allow his family to inquire after him after [tough] long days of his absence,” he added.

Local and international human rights groups have documented dozens of cases of enforced disappearances in Egypt since Sisi took office in 2014.

Activist and former MP Mostafa al-Naggar disappeared in 2018 and has been missing since then.

Campaigner Ahmed Amasha fought against the practice himself and was subjected to it twice in 2019 and 2020. He is currently in prison, where he reportedly suffered torture.

Egyptian social media users have been tweeting about Banna’s arrest, attaching his picture.