Egyptian authorities detain rights activist


An Egyptian state security prosecutor ordered on Tuesday that a prominent rights activist be detained for 15 days pending investigations over accusations including of joining a terrorist organisation, state news agency MENA said.

Shady Ghazaly Harb, a leading opposition figure during the 2011 uprising, had handed himself in to a Dokki prosecutor on Monday for questioning over accusations of insulting state institutions and publishing false news on social media, his lawyer Rajia Omran said.

The prosecutor ordered his release on 50,000 Egyptian pounds (2,082.15 pounds) bail on Monday, but he remained in detention for another case with state security, Omran added.

Harb was questioned for several hours by a state security prosecutor on Tuesday in a case that included other activists who are also critical of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime and who have been rounded up in recent weeks, she added.

The activist was accused of joining a terrorist organisation, using social media to incite terrorism and publishing false news to disturb security and harm public interest, his lawyer and a source from the state security prosecution’s office said.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised Egypt’s human rights record, saying conditions in the country have continued to deteriorate under Sisi, who came to power in 2014 after the army overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Sisi’s supporters say his tough security and economic measures are needed to keep the country stable as it recovers from political chaos and tackles grave economic challenges and the Islamist insurgency.