Independent Egyptian media outlet says editor arrested

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo's downtown on September 20, 2019. - Protestors also gathered in other Egyptian cities calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi but police quickly dispersed them. In Cairo dozens of people joined night-time demonstrations around Tahrir Square -- the epicenter of the 2011 revolution that toppled the country's long-time autocratic leader. (Photo by STR / AFP)

This is the latest arrest amid a wider crackdown on dissent in the country.

A prominent investigative media outlet in Egypt says security forces have arrested one of its editors, the latest arrest amid a wider crackdown on dissent in the country.

Mada Masr, one of a shrinking number of independent news websites in Egypt, said Shady Zalat, 37, was arrested from his home in Cairo early on Saturday. Police raided his apartment without showing an arrest warrant, the outlet added.

In a statement, Mada Masr said plain-clothed police told Zalat’s wife that he was being taken to the Giza police headquarters.

But the outlet said it has been unable to confirm where Zalat is being held and demanded his release.

“Shady has been working at Mada Masr as an editor since 2014,” the outlet’s statement said. “He has done nothing more than use words to report the news.”

“We hold Egyptian authorities responsible for his safety and well being and call for his immediate and unconditional release,” the statement added.

There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Zalat’s arrest came after Mada Masr published an article last week alleging that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ‘s son Mahmoud had been transferred to Moscow on a diplomatic posting.

His re-assignment from a senior intelligence post came after he had been criticised internally within the security apparatus, Mada Masr reported.

The article, which cited unnamed Emirati and Egyptian officials, gave details about the country’s security agencies at a time when press freedoms in Egypt are shrinking.

Egypt has arrested at least 4,000 people since September amid a sweeping crackdown following rare anti-government protests.

Mada Masr is one of the hundreds of websites blocked by the Egyptian government in recent years.

Egypt jails more journalists than any other country except China and Turkey, according to New York-based watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists.

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