Egypt frees journalist Khaled Dawoud

Egypt has freed prominent dissident journalist and politician Khaled Dawoud after more than 18 months in detention, a fellow journalist and a lawyer said Tuesday. 

A former head of the liberal opposition Dostour party and a senior journalist for the English edition of state newspaper Al Ahram, he had been arrested in September 2019 after rare anti-government protests.

“At around 5:00 pm on Monday, a police official informed us that the prosecutor had decided to release him,” said Hisham Younes, a member of Egypt’s press club.

“He got out at around midnight… no charges were brought against him.” 

Lawyer and rights activist Khaled Ali said on Facebook that the prosecution had “decided to free” Dawoud.

“Khaled left prison and was taken to State Security. He retrieved his car and went home, where he his now with his family,” Ali said. 

Dawoud, who is an adjunct professor of journalism at the American University of Cairo, was detained after rare protests calling for the ouster of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The general-turned-president has overseen a massive, crackdown aimed at quashing dissent, jailing many journalists, lawyers, academics and activists, both secular and Islamist.

Dawoud was accused of “collaborating with a terrorist organisation”, “publishing false information” and “misusing social media”, charges often levelled against dissidents.

Egypt ranks 166th out of 188 countries on Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s Press Freedom Index.

Rights groups say some 60,000 prisoners of consience are currently languishing in Egyptian jails.