Egypt : Arrests prominent blogger amid crackdown on dissent

Egypt has detained prominent blogger and journalist Wael Abbas, the latest in a series of arrests targeting dissidents.

Abbas’s lawyer Gamal Eid said in a tweet that the award-winning journalist and rights activist was arrested early on Wednesday and his whereabouts are unknown.

An Interior Ministry official said he was checking the news while two security sources, who asked not to be named, confirmed the detention of Abbas, without providing details on the reasons.

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that armed police raided Abbas’s home at dawn, without showing an arrest warrant.

The statement added that the activist was then blind-folded and taken his pyjamas to an unknown location.

Eid said on his Twitter account that Abbas had been “kidnapped, not arrested.”

Abbas first became known in activist circles after posting videos showing torture practices by the Egyptian police under Egypt’s former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Abbas won International Center for Journalists’ Knight International Journalism Award in 2007.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has since 2013 overseen a wide crackdown on dissent, which Rights groups say the worst ever for Egypt, jailing hundreds of activists behind the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The crackdown followed the July 2013 ouster by the military, then led by Sisi, of democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi.

Elected to office the following year, Sisi has since silenced most critics in the media, rolled back freedoms won by the 2011 uprising, and placed draconian restrictions on demonstrations and the work of rights groups.

By Africafrique and agencies

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