Journalist, Human Rights First Award Winner Arrested Near Cairo
WASHINGTON — Human Rights First is alarmed at reports that journalist Nora Younis was arrested at her office in Maadi earlier today. She was recognized with a Human Rights Defender award by Human Rights First in 2008. (The award has since been named after American human rights lawyer William D. Zabel)
She is editor of the independent Al Manassa news website, which was blocked in Egypt in 2018 after it published a critical report alleging election violations, government bias, and vote-buying.
“This is a shocking, frightening arrest,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “She is a prominent journalist, long respected in the country and beyond. The Egyptian authorities keep finding new ways to muzzle free speech, and the United States government should stop supporting the Egyptian government with arms and political support while it continues to crack down on journalists. Younis should be released immediately.”
According to local reports, eight plainclothes officers arrived at Younis’ office soon after 1 p.m. local time and waited for her until she arrived shortly after. Then she was questioned for more than two hours and taken in a vehicle around 4 p.m. to the local police station at Maadi, but the station denied she was being held there. Reports say she is being held overnight at that police station, and will possibly face charges of managing a website without a license.
In December 2016, Younis reported that she had “lost access to secure chatting” when Egypt blocked the secure Signal and Telegram apps. Her arrest comes a day after well known human rights defender Sanaa Seif was arrested in Cairo.