Wael Abbas: Prominent Egyptian blogger 'arrested'

Egypt detains prominent blogger, latest in arrest series

Egyptian security officials say a prominent activist and blogger known for criticizing the government has been detained, the latest in a new wave of arrests since elections earlier this year.

"By reining in the traditional media and blocking access to independent online media, the Egyptian authorities have reduced the country to nearly complete silence", the watchdog said in a statement that also named Abbas as an activist who had been targeted online.

Concern has been rising over the Egyptian authorities abuse carried out against the media and journalists with the use of arbitrary detention and disappearance on the rise.

Wael Abbas is known for his strongly-worded, anti-governmental stance and his role in documenting and reporting the 2011 uprising against the Mubarak regime.

Abbas posted a short message on his personal Facebook account at 4am saying that he was being arrested.

None of Abbas' friends of relatives know his whereabouts, which sparked the hashtag #وائل_عباس_فين - "Where is Abbas?" - to circulate on Twitter.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, an Egyptian human rights organization headed by Eid, reported that police did not show a warrant or give reason for the arrest before blindfolding Abbas and taking him away in his pajamas.

Human rights groups have accused Mr Sisi of overseeing an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since he led the military's overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013 following mass protests.

Sisi was re-elected in March after securing more than 97 per cent of the vote.

Amnesty International have condemned the recent events and called Fathy's arrest a "new low in Egypt's crackdown on freedom of expression".

Abbas won the journalism award from the International Center for Journalists in 2007, and also won the Human Rights Watch's Hellman/Hammett Award in 2008. His Facebook account, which continues to work until today, has been hacked, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Abbas has been posting about police violence, torture and corruption on social media for more than a decade. Thousands of people have been jailed, unauthorized protests have been banned and hundreds of websites, including many run by independent journalists and rights activists, have been blocked.

An Egyptian military court sentenced Ismail Alexandrani, a prominent journalist and expert on rebel movements in the Sinai, to 10 years in prison, his lawyer and a military judicial official said.

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