Egypt police raid radio station, detain rights advocate
An evolving crackdown on dissent has landed thousands of government critics behind bars
The head of an Egyptian human rights organization said Saturday he is being held in a central Cairo police station following a police raid on the group’s online radio station.
Ahmed Samih, director of the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, says police told him he is under investigation for broadcasting without a license on the web radio platform Horytna.
“One of the main questions was around our political affiliation,” he said in a phone call from the police station, adding that the radio station is not affiliated with a political party and is focused on human rights.
An evolving crackdown on dissent has landed thousands of government critics behind bars and silenced many dissenting voices. Authorities contend they are fighting a violent wave of Islamic militancy that aims to destabilize the country.
Also on Saturday, Human Rights Watch urged Egypt to halt the execution of six men condemned to death by a military tribunal for killing security forces, citing lawyers and family who contend some of them were in jail at the time of the attack.
The New York-based rights group said in a statement that the men are accused of being members of the insurgent group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.
It said the men were part of a group of nine convicted of killing two officers in a 2014 shootout north of Cairo, and that they should be given a retrial before a civilian court.
Since the military ousted an elected Islamist president in 2013, courts have swiftly dealt out many harsh sentences, including life in prison and death sentences.