Journalist detained for Geneina interview reported missing

The family of journalist Moataz Wadnan, who recently conducted an interview with former top auditor Hesham Geneina, filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s office on Monday asserting that he has been illegally detained, according to lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim.

The complaint was filed after Wadnan was transferred to an unknown location on Sunday and demands his immediate release, Ghoneim told Mada Masr.

Wadnan was arrested on Friday, following an interview published in HuffPost Arabi with former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA) Geneina — who was reportedly a member of former Chief of Staff Sami Anan’s presidential campaign and who was arrested on February 13 — in which Geneina discussed documents regarding post-2011 violence. Wadnan was detained alongside three of his relatives, who were released on Saturday. However, the journalist reportedly remained in custody and was held at the Fifth Settlement Police Station.

Officials at the police station told Ghoneim on Sunday that Wadnan had been transferred to State Security Prosecution for interrogation, claims which the prosecution denied. The lawyer was, however, able to confirm that the journalist was transferred from the Fifth Settlement Police Station to an unknown location.

According to the timeline outlined in the complaint filed by the journalist’s family, which Mada Masr obtained a copy of, Wadnan was detained in an unknown location on the first night of his arrest before being transferred to the police station in New Cairo, where was was held until Sunday, when a force from the National Security Agency moved him.

Journalists Syndicate Secretary General Hatem Zakaria told the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper on Sunday that security agencies had informed him that they would release Wadnan once the “circumstances surrounding his interview with Geneina” became clear. Zakaria told Al-Shorouk that “publishing an interview or sharing the opinion of a source is not the fault of the journalist.”

In the interview, which was published on HuffPost Arabi on February 11, the former CAA head  claimed that former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Anan, who intended to run for president before his January arrest, had documents stored outside of Egypt that concerned a number of violent incidents in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, a period during which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was the acting governing body. Anan’s lawyers refuted Geneina’s claims.

The interview prompted Armed Forces spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai to issue a statement on February 12 condemning Geneina’s remarks. “We will use all constitutional and legal rights to protect national security and maintain the military’s honor,” Rifai said.


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