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Disappeared journalist appears before Alexandria prosecution, to be detained for 15 days

An Alexandria prosecutor’s office ordered on Sunday the detention of journalist Hossam al-Wakil — who has been missing since December of last year — for 15 days pending investigations into charges of joining an illegal group and disrupting public peace, his brother Hazem al-Wakil told Mada Masr.

Wakil was arrested on December 30 from his residence in Alexandria. His whereabouts were unknown until he appeared in custody on Sunday, his brother said.

Wakil’s family submitted official notices of his arrested and forced disappearance to Egypt’s Office of the Public Prosecution, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice, as well as Alexandria’s public prosecutor, according to his brother.

Wakil’s family first learned of his place of detention after his brother received a phone call from an eyewitness informing him that the missing journalist had appeared in front of Mina al-Basal prosecution in Alexandria on Sunday.

When Wakil’s brother and lawyer arrived at the prosecution headquarters, the interrogation of the journalist had already taken place. It was then that the brother and lawyer were informed of Wakil’s detention order.

Sunday’s interrogations were Wakil’s first since his arrest, according to Wakil’s brother.

Wakil was formerly the head of privately owned Al-Dostour newspaper’s office in Alexandria and has worked as a correspondent for a number of foreign press agencies in Egypt, including Reuters.

The number of journalists detained in Egypt had climbed to 31 as of February, Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate board member Mahmoud Kamel previously told Mada Masr.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Egypt 161 out of 180 countries in its 2017 press freedom index, describing the country as “one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists.”

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