Detention of Hisham Kassem: A Voice for Democracy Silenced

Egyptian Human Rights Forum condemns the detention of  prominent political dissident, publisher, journalist, and Chairman of the board of trustees of the Free Current Hisham Kassem, We urgently call upon the Egyptian authorities to adhere to the principles of justice, respect for human rights, and freedom of expression by immediately releasing Mr. Kassem without any further delay.

On Sunday, August 20, 2023, Mr. Kassem was summoned by the public prosecutor’s office in connection with a slander and libel case filed against him by former minister and member of the Presidential Pardon Committee, Mr. Kamal Abu Aita. Following a grueling interrogation that stretched over six hours, Hisham was granted conditional release on a 5000 L.E bail. However, he bravely chose not to pay this sum, interpreting it as a veiled indictment. In his own words, he declared, “I’m neither a thief nor a pickpocket, and I won’t submit to this mockery.” His refusal to pay the bail was symbolic, reflecting the profound implications and potential consequences he foresaw as a result of this indictment.

Subsequently, Kassem found himself confined to custody at the Elsayda Zainab police station. On August 21st, he was once again brought before the prosecutor’s office, this time facing additional libel and slander charges filed by a police officer and two police aides. Shockingly, the prosecutor’s office disregarded the pleas of Mr. Kassem’s defense team for his release, a procedure typically followed in non-politicized cases. Instead, he was handed a four-day pre-trial detention, deepening concerns about the erosion of justice in Egypt.

Hisham Kassem has consistently used his social media  platforms and international outreach  to expose corruption, denounce repression, and critique the failed economic policies that have plunged Egypt into a severe economic crisis. His unwavering dedication to these principles has made him a thorn in the side of the regime, prompting desperate and unfounded attempts to silence him.

Hisham Kassem’s distinguished record of activism underscores his unwavering commitment tothe cause of human rights and democracy. He is the founder and former chairman of the board of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the publisher of Cairo Times, and the founding editor of al Masry al Youm

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