Egyptian military arrests investigative journalist who exposed recent coup plot

The New York Times reports: Egyptian military intelligence on Sunday detained an investigative journalist who is also the founder of Egypt’s premier human rights group on charges of publishing false news, raising alarms about attempts to suppress domestic dissent as the government grapples with questions about the crash of a Russian passenger jet.

The journalist, Hossam Bahgat, 36, founded the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a highly regarded rights organization, in 2002. Since the military takeover in 2013, however, he has distinguished himself as a unique voice in the Egyptian news media by writing a series of painstakingly researched investigative reports that have called into question government statements.

Mr. Bahgat was summoned to military intelligence on Sunday and interrogated for hours before he was allowed to meet with lawyers. He was ordered to spend the night in detention, with his lawyers saying that military prosecutors would most likely decide on Monday whether to formally send him to trial. He also faces charges of insulting the military, his lawyers said.

Mr. Bahgat’s most recent report — and apparently the one that set off the ire of the military — investigated the low-key convictions of 26 military officers accused of having plotted a coup against the current government. The report raised questions about possible dissent in the ranks and about potential retribution against officers who had crossed the secret police. The article was the focus of questions by the prosecutor, according to Ragia Omran, a human rights lawyer who attended the interrogation in support of Mr. Bahgat. [Continue reading…]

Here is Bahgat speaking in Brazil two years ago:

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