Egypt’s Journalist Hossam Moaness: a Prisoner of “Hope”

Release Egypt’s Journalist Hossam Moaness, a Prisoner of “Hope”

Hossam Moaness is an Egyptian Journalist who contributed to the founding and establishment of several independent newspapers and media outlets in Egypt, while also contributing to many well-known newspapers including Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Maqal, Al-Tahrir, and Al-Dostour newspaper.

Hossam’s solid writings on socio-political affairs in Egypt made him one of the strongest critics of the totalitarian political system which emerged in 2013. His legacy spans over more than 700 articles devoted to discussing and engaging with the topics of democracy, social justice, political, civil, and human rights, and political change. Moaness has been devoting his writings and his life to pose questions and propose solutions to the future of democracy in Egypt before, during, and after the 25 January revolution.

In addition to co-founding the opposition newspaper Al-Karama, he contributed articles to Al-Masry Al-Youm since 2013 until his last contribution in August 2014 when he wrote relentlessly on the dangers of fascism, warning of what he called “facing fascism with fascism” in a reference to the direction the country was taking in its resistance against the Muslim Brotherhood. After Al-Masry Al-Youm, Moaness went on to write at Al-Maqal’s newspaper including articles criticizing the press and media law that was passed in 2018, which makes journalists vulnerable to intensified prison sentences in publishing crimes. However, Al-Maqal was faced by a state-led backlash for publishing serious critiques against the state, resulting in the stepping down of its founder and editor-in-chief. After contributing to al-Maqal, Moaness started to contribute to Al-Tahrir newspaper, whose website, in turn, was blocked by ٍthe Supreme Media Regulatory Council with no judicial order.

As a result of his relentless journalism and engagement, Moaness was arrested from his home at the dawn of 25 June 2019 along with at least 8 other individuals including former Member of Parliament, a businessman and leftist political and labor activists.

Official charges against Hossam were:
Membership in a terrorist group
– Publishing false news aimed at undermining security and stability [of] the country

The state-led media and press led a smear campaign against Moaness and the other arrested activists accusing them of plotting to “take down the state” and cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the group of defendants was merely involved in talks to form a coalition to run for the next parliamentary elections, which proves the clear purpose of the recent arrests which is merely to punish any form of constructive engagement in the public sphere and to crack down on freedom of expression and opinion.

Hossam Moanes also contributed to enrichment and expansion of the declining public sphere in Egypt. Prior to his arrest, he co-founded a new political platform in Egypt that mandated itself to bring “hope” and challenge the current declining status-quo. Before that, he was also the spokesperson of the independent Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.

The situation of press freedom and freedom of expression in Egypt is in constant deterioration according to several international watchdogs. The recent arrest of Journalist Hossam Moaness is another testament to the crackdown on journalists who are engaged, devoted, and anyone who hopes for a better democratic future for Egypt.

For these reasons, we urge you to join us in calling on the International Community to urge the Egyptian authorities to halt its targeting of journalists and to immediately release Mr. Hossam Moaness and all defendants in this case.

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