CAIRO -- An Egyptian journalist known for his critical views of the government said on Thursday that police raided his parents' house the previous night and arrested his brother.
Mohamed el-Garhy tweeted that the police came to the home of his parents, who live in a village northeast of Cairo, and asked his father for his whereabouts. When they were told that he was in the city, the police woke up his brother and took him instead.
“My brother Yasser has never been interested in politics and has not done anything wrong,” el-Garhy wrote, mockingly thanking Egyptian authorities for “maltreatment and humiliation.”
The brother's whereabouts were not immediately known, el-Garhy said and there was no statement from the police.
In recent years, authorities have jailed dozens of Egyptian reporters and occasionally expelled some foreign journalists from the country. And when police fail to find a wanted suspect, family members and relatives have occasionally been arrested instead. Egypt remains among the world’s worst jailers of journalists, along with Turkey and China, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based watchdog.
Despite the tightening of the grip on independent news media in Egypt, el-Garhy has often voiced criticism of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government and recently spoke up on his Facebook page in support of Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a prominent political activist who has been detained for over a year.
El-Sissi, a general-turned-president, has overseen an unprecedented political crackdown, silencing critics and jailing thousands. As defense minister, he led the military’s removal in 2013 of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood figure whose one-year divisive rule sparked mass protests.