“They are in the process of arresting me,” Wael Abbas posted at 5 a.m. today. His worried friends have been posting messages of support on social networks ever since but no one has obtained any direct news of Abbas, who is well known for documenting police brutality in Egypt on his blog, his YouTube channel and social networks.
According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a Cairo-based NGO, he was taken blindfolded to an unknown location by police, who showed no warrant and prevented him from contacting a lawyer. They seized computers, smartphones and books during the raid on his home.
“The Egyptian authorities are responsible for Wael Abbas’s safety,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “They must guarantee his physical and psychological integrity and must quickly provide information about his current status. Our concern about his abduction is all the greater after the recent arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of several Egyptian bloggers.”
In recent months, Abbas has been the target of online harassment by pro-government troll armies, which managed to get his Twitter account closed for good. This is not the first time that the security services have harassed him. He was accused of jeopardizing national security under President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in 2011.
At least 33 journalists, citizen-journalists and bloggers are currently detained in Egypt, most of them provisionally. Egypt is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.