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Supreme State Security Prosecution renews the detention of two photojournalists for 15 days in Case 441/2018

The Supreme State Security Prosecution issued renewed 15-day detention orders to two photojournalists on Wednesday, according to lawyers familiar with their cases. Shorouk Amgad and Mohamed Abu Zeid are being held pending further investigations into Case 441/2018, which includes a number of prominent journalists, bloggers and lawyers arrested in recent months.

Amgad, a freelance photojournalist detained since April 25, faces charges of joining a terrorist group, spreading false news and establishing and running social media websites to communicate with terrorist groups, according to lawyer Esraa al-Kourdy. Abu Zeid, a photojournalist at the privately owned Tahrir news website who has been in police custody since June 7, faces charges of joining an outlawed organization and spreading false news, according to Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) lawyer Nour Fahmy.

Security forces arrested Amgad from downtown Cairo on April 25, when she was informed that she would be taken to the Qasr al-Nile police station to run standard security checks on her national identity card. Amgad was then blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination, which she later found out was one of the NSA headquarters, according to Kourdy.

The prosecution interrogated Amgad on April 26 and ordered her detention for 15 days, pending further investigations into Case 441/2018, Kourdy added.

In the months prior to her arrest, Amgad had been posting news of her detained fiancé, journalist Ahmed al-Sakhawy, on her private Facebook account, posts which Kourdy believes might be the reason behind her detention. Sakhawy has been in remand detention since last September, pending investigations into Case 977/2017, and faces charges of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news.

Security forces raided Abu Zeid’s home in his absence in mid-May, according to a source close to his family who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity. Fearing arrest following the raid, Abu Zeid decided to go into hiding, before turning himself into a police station in his neighborhood of Helwan on June 7, when his family lost all contact with him. According to the source, Abu Zeid’s family reached out to contacts at the police station in order to find out his whereabouts and were informed that he was at the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters for questioning and would be released soon.

On June 24, however, Abu Zeid appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which ordered his detention for 15 days in the absence of his lawyers, according to the source.

In addition to Amgad and Abu Zeid, Case 441/2018 also involves a diverse array of defendants arrested in recent months, among them journalists Moataz Wadnan, Mostafa al-Asar and Hassan al-Banna, blogger Wael Abbas, lawyer and head of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms Ezzat Ghoneim, Fatemah Mohamed, her husband Abdallah Moddar and brother Omar Mousa, as well as University of Washington PhD student Walid al-Shobaky, who was missing for four days, before he was brought before the Supreme State Security Prosecution on May 28 and issued an official detention order.

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