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On July 12, Hossam Bahgat, founder and executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), announced that prosecutors had referred him to trial on bogus charges of “insulting a state body, spreading false rumors stating that the election results were rigged, and using social media to commit crimes.”

  • In June, prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into Bahgat over a tweet he posted last year, in which he criticized the (since deceased) former head of the National Elections Authority, Lasheen Ibrahim, over election fraud. His trial is slated to begin on September 7.
  • Read more about Bahgat’s case here.

Adding to an escalating crackdown on Egyptian academics––particularly those studying and working abroad––authorities detained Germany-based academic Alia Mossallam on July 11 upon her arrival at Cairo International Airport with her family. 

According to her husband, Mossallam was held at the airport for 17 hours before being transferred to the State Security Prosecution’s headquarters. She was finally released on bail the next day. 

According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Mossallam was included in Case 65/2021––under which jailed researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy was first charged and is still awaiting trial––and charged with joining a terrorist organization, spreading false information, and misusing social media.

Mossallam, a postdoctoral fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation who has also taught at the American University in Cairo and written for Mada Masr and Jadaliyya, is a cultural historian “interested in songs that tell stories and stories that tell of popular struggles behind the better-known events that shape world history.”

Mossallam’s arrest follows Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram’s statement last week calling Egyptians studying abroad “the most dangerous class of Egyptian immigrants” due to their supposed exposure to anti-Egyptian ideas. Makram’s comments and Mossallam’s arrest raise concerns that Egyptian academics abroad will continue to be targeted and considered enemies of the state.


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