Egyptian Journalist Solafa Magdy Released from Unjust Imprisonment
On April 14, 2021, Egyptian human rights reporter Solafa Magdy and her husband Hossam al-Sayyad were released from prison after spending more than 17 months in pre-trial detention. The IWMF is thrilled by their release, which comes in the wake of international appeals from human rights and press freedom organizations.
Magdy – a 2020 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner – and al-Sayyad were arrested in November 2019 and were accused of terrorism-related activities and spreading “false news.” These unfounded charges came amidst a crackdown on independent news outlets led by Egyptian authorities. For more than a year they remained in pre-trial detention, separated from their son Khaled and rarely offered communication with the outside world.
During her imprisonment in the al-Qanater Women’s Prison near Cairo, Magdy reported experiencing harsh treatment. In February 2021, out of concern for her wellbeing, the IWMF and eight fellow international human rights organizations called on U.S. Department of State Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary Joey Hood to raise Magdy and al-Sayyad’s cases within the State Department and engage with the Egyptian government to secure their release.
While we are buoyed by Magdy and al-Sayyad’s reunion with their family, we cannot forget that Magdy should not have spent a single day in prison simply for doing her job. Her release marks a pivotal moment for the Egyptian government, who we call on to release the thousands of other human rights activists and journalists currently imprisoned just for exercising their rights.
The IWMF urges Egyptian authorities to take this step to restore democracy and press freedom. We will continue to support Magdy, al-Sayyad and their family as they begin the process of healing and seeking justice.