Egypt journalist dies of coronavirus after leaving prison: family

Mohamed Monir, 65, had been arrested in mid-June and charged with "membership of a terrorist group, dissemination of false news and improper use of social networks".
Mohamed Monir, 65, had been arrested in mid-June and charged with "membership of a terrorist group, dissemination of false news and improper use of social networks".
Image: 123rf.com/betonstudio

An Egyptian journalist arrested after appearing on the Al Jazeera network has died of the novel coronavirus, his daughter confirmed, days after he was released from detention.

Mohamed Monir, 65, had been arrested in mid-June and charged with "membership of a terrorist group, dissemination of false news and improper use of social networks".

His arrest, widely criticised by rights groups, came after he appeared on the Qatar-based satellite news channel.

Egypt labels the channel a mouthpiece for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, a charge Doha denies.

Monir was released on July 2 but his daughter Sarah Monir announced on July 7 that he had been hospitalised with the Covid-19 illness.

In another Facebook post late Monday night, she confirmed that he had passed away.

Monir was suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and serious heart problems, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, citing Egyptian journalists who asked to remain anonymous.

The US-based group said it was "extremely disturbed" by his death following his release from Cairo's Tora Prison.

"Egyptian authorities must release all journalists held for their work, as even brief detentions amid the Covid-19 pandemic can mean a death sentence," said its regional director Sherif Mansour.

Monir's arrest came as Egypt steps up a crackdown on the press, which it has been waging since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president a year after leading the military's 2013 overthrow of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi following mass protests.

Egypt and its Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates accuse Qatar of backing Islamist groups and using Al Jazeera to stir dissent in the Arab world. Doha denies the accusations.

In May, the CPJ documented the arrests of at least four Egyptian journalists, including Sameh Haneen, a Coptic Christian who also faces charges of joining a terrorist organisation.

The group ranks Egypt as the third biggest jailer of journalists in the world, behind China and Turkey.


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