DUBIA: The Egyptian government has been pressured by a press rights NGO to immediately release a journalist who was arrested from his home on Saturday.

Ahmed Al-Bahy, a correspondent for the independent news website Masrawy, was charged with inciting violence the next day.

“Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Ahmed Al-Bahy and drop any charges filed against him,” the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said yesterday.

Al-Bahy was based in the Monufia Governorate in Egypt’s Nile Delta region. The prosecutor’s office in Al-Sadat City ordered that he spend four days in pretrial detention pending investigation.

Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s program coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa region, said: “Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Ahmed al-Bahy, drop all charges against him, and ensure that journalists can cover issues of local interest freely and without fear of imprisonment.”

Al-Bahy’s arrest is related to the killing of a young man in Al-Sadat City on April 15. Police officers asked Al-Bahy to stop filming and to refrain from publishing anything about the case. He was arrested despite complying with the request by leaving the site and not publishing relating to the killing, reported Egyptian news site Darb.

“It has become the norm that Egyptian authorities shut down journalistic investigations into political and human rights issues and imprison journalists covering them,” said Mansour.

“However, shutting down an investigation into a seemingly non-political incident marks a clear attack against the journalism sector in Egypt as a whole.”

As of December 2021, Egypt was the world’s third-worst jailer of journalists, with at least 25 journalists imprisoned in the country, according to CPJ’s prison census.