Cairo: 10 September 2019

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that the kidnapping of the son of Al-Mashhad newspaper’s editor from his house by an Interior Ministry officer to force his father to surrender, if true- as the father said on his personal Facebook page- constitutes a serious move in the Ministry of Interior’s violations of the law, which requires an immediate and prompt investigation by the Public Prosecutor into the incident; so that abduction won’t become a new method or approach in Egypt alongside with the common police violations.

Al-Mashhad newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Magdi Shendi, said through his Facebook account that “some members of the security forces stormed his house today (Tuesday) at dawn, and when they did not find him, they arrested one of his sons and took him to Giza Security Directorate, as they said, until he turns himself in”.

Consequently, Mr. Magdi Shendi went to his home, and then headed to the Giza Security Directorate where they told him that his son has been taken to the National Security headquarters in Sheikh Zayed! Afterwards, he communicated with the Journalists Syndicate, which in turn tried to obtain a response from the Ministry of Interior about the crime committed by its members, but has not yet responded.

It is noteworthy that Magdi Shendi is the editor of the private newspaper “Al-Mashhad” that may be considered the only semi-opposition newspaper that is left today. As a chief editor of the newspaper, Shendi has continuously been subjected to attempts and threats to publication bans, the last of which was the decision to ban the newspaper for six months and impose a fine of 50,000LE.

ANHRI said: “Regardless of the reason behind the abduction, kidnapping and hostage-taking is a crime, and when this crime is committed by the security services, it would be a double crime whose perpetrators deserve punishment and accountability without delay or procrastination.”

ANHRI holds the Ministry of Interior and the National Security Agency responsible for the safety of the son of journalist Magdi Shendi. It calls on the Public Prosecutor to take a stand on the issue to restore trust in the justice system, whose credibility has become at stake because of its silence towards the repeated crimes committed by the security apparatus in Egypt.

ANHRI also calls on the Ministry of Interior to urgently release Magdi Shendi’s son, respect the Constitution, punish those responsible for that crime and apologize for the practices carried out by its officers.