Egyptian journalist, Sinai expert in custody after over 18 hours of questioning

Published November 30th, 2015 - 11:00 GMT

Egyptian journalist, researcher, and expert on the Sinai, Ismail Alexandrani, was stopped at Hurghada airport Sunday afternoon and questioned for over 19 hours after arriving from Berlin, his friend Ahmed Sakr said in a Facebook statement in coordination with Alexandrani's wife.

Alexandrani remains in custody.

Security officials first told the detained journalist's friends it was only a "chat" and that investigation started late because the officer who was questioning him had an inspection patrol for security procedures at the airport.

No accusations have been directed at Alexandrani, Sakr said.

Security officials assured his friends he will be freed.

The journalist was coming to Egypt to visit his sick mother, Sakr wrote. He also said that Alexandrani last got in contact with him after security authorities took his passport, after which his phone was turned off.

Ismail Alexandrani, 32, is a sociopolitical researcher and investigative freelance journalist who specialises in Sinai affairs.

He last published in 2015 a chapter called "Violence in Sinai: the State's War on Society and Producing Terrorism" in a book titled "L'Egypte en revolution(s)" (Egypt in revolution[s]).

He is also a volunteer researcher responsible for Sinai issues at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).

Alexandrani has been a Fellow Researcher at the Paris-based Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) since 2013, where he studies "the future relationship between the progressive Islamists and the Secular Left in Egypt."

He was a Visiting Arab Journalist Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center (February-May 2015) and won the Open Eye-Hany Darweesh Award for Exceptional Essay in Germany in 2014.


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