His sister: He went on hunger strike 2 weeks ago due to the intransigence practiced against him, and being barred from talking, receiving medical treatment, or having any physical activity..He asked us in his last letter to speak about his caseHe is a fellow journalist who decided to carry out his work conducting an interview with a pivotal political figure that had been the center of attention at that time, but the security forces arrested him and placed him as a defendant in a case along with other journalists and activists. He is our fellow journalist Moataz Wadnan.
Wadnan was arrested by the security forces in the eve of 16 February 2018, after he conducted an interview with the former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA) Hesham Geneina, who was back then a member of former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan’s presidential bid team.
Plainclothes security personnel intercepted Wadnan in his car, along with two of his relatives- including a child- and took them to an undisclosed location. Wadnan had previously expressed his fears of persecution to the Journalists Syndicate Council members after the interview and asked for their support.
The interview includes dramatic statements by Hesham Geneina in which he claimed that Anan had in his possession documents and evidence that would change the course of political trials, and reveal the ones behind the major crises that took place in Egypt since the January 25 Revolution, and also expose the so-called “the third party” that was blamed for a lot of political crimes and assassinations in Egypt. Against the backdrop of these remarks, the Egyptian authorities arrested Geneina.
Wadnan’s first interrogation session was set on February 20, followed by another session the day after (21 February), during which his defense team requested to prove the existence of apparent signs of torture on Wadnan’s body.
On 6 March 2018, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the imprisonment renewal of Huffington Post journalist Moataz Wadnan, pending investigations conducted with him in connection with his interview with former head auditor Hesham Geneina, in which he is accused of spreading news that could harm the national security and joining an illegal organization.
During the State Security Prosecution’s investigations, Wadnan said that his interview with Hesham Geneina was conducted with the knowledge and consent of his family and in full coordination with them and that he asked Geneina- himself- and his family for their permission to record the interview. He further said that the interview was recorded by a new digital video camera, not using a mobile phone camera, and that the recording lasted 90 minutes.
Wadnan added, in the Prosecution investigations session, that Geneina thanked him in the beginning for conducting the interview, before getting into the details of the incident, stressing that he was fully aware of the interview’s details.
Wadnan also said that he had recorded an interview with Geneina, and that he did not tamper with what Geneina said, adding that Geneina is the one to be questioned for his declarations, he is a public figure, and all media outlets were in touch with him during that period to get his comments and publish them whether in newspapers or news websites.
The Prosecution unsealed the evidence and seizures that was found in Moataz’s possession, including a laptop computer, on with the interview’s full footage was. Then it pressed against him charges of: “Joining a group established contrary to the provisions of the law that aims at disrupting state institutions and preventing them from carrying out their duties, spreading false news, and publishing news that would harm the country’s national security”.
Moataz’s name was added to Case No. 441 which includes journalists “Hassan al-Banna Mubarak and Mostafa al-Aasar”, the latter two are both facing charges of taking part in the production of media material about the political situation in Egypt.
In March 2018, Moataz Wadnan’s family called upon the head of the Journalists Syndicate to urgently intervene to release Moataz, enable them to visit him in jail, and to allow him to have access to the essential items he needs.
According to his family, Wadnan faced forms of intransigence and arbitrariness in prison; his sister said he went on a hunger strike on June 14 due to the ill-treatment he is being subjected to in prison.
In a declaration his sister made to “Katib”, Shams Al-Din mentioned that her brother is being held in solitary confinement and is denied his allotted daily exercise and recreation, food and clothes brought to him in visits is also not allowed and he is prevented from visiting the prison doctor. She added, “Moataz asked us to speak about him because he is being treated in prison as if he is living in a grave.”
She also pointed out that they (Wadnan ‘s family) were at the beginning not allowed to visit him in prison, and that they were only able to see him for just five minutes in the prosecution’s headquarters three months after his imprisonment. She noted that this occurred despite the fact that they had already obtained a visiting permit, but the prison administration prevented them nonetheless.
Shams Al-Din added that banning her brother from having any physical activity or recreation had affected his bones, which was evident during his detention renewal session. She asserted that her brother needs medical treatment and to have access to a doctor, especially after the prison authorities had banned the entry of medication, including the drugs used for the treatment of rheumatic diseases.