Mohamed Monir, a well-known Egyptian journalist arrested by the regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on charges of reporting false news, died in a hospital in Cairo after contracting COVID-19 in detention. The news was announced by Diaa Rashwan, head of the Egyptian journalists’ union, who remained in contact with Monir until the end.
The journalist was arrested last month and imprisoned at the Tora prison (Cairo) after appearing on Al-Jazeera, a Qatari TV station that has been banned in Egypt following the military coup in 2013 against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on the grounds that it had sided with the Muslim Brotherhood. When Monir’s interview was broadcast, the prosecutor’s office ordered the journalist’s arrest for two weeks on charges of spreading false news and being part of a terrorist group.
Pre-trial detention, often for years, is a widely used weapon in Egypt against activists, journalists and political opponents. Monir’s death confirms the fears about the condition of the prisoners in Tora prison, considered to be at high risk for COVID.
Patrick Zaky is also imprisoned here. The Egyptian student from the University of Bologna was arrested on his return to Cairo in February and whose pre-trial detention was recently renewed for another 45 days by the judges.