Egypt arrests award-winning economist and his publisher on 'Fake News' allegation

Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi YouTube grab

An author in Egypt, Abdel-Khaleq Farouq and his publisher Ibrahim el-Khateib were arrested after a book stated misleading facts about country's economic policies.

A lawyer said on Tuesday, October 23 that the award-winning economist Farouq and publisher Ibrahim were arrested over a book that challenged President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's economic policies. Both the accused were detained on Sunday, October 21 faced charges of publishing "fake news," which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

Mohammed Abdel-Aziz, a lawyer for the author said that after the arrest Farouq was questioned by authorities for seven hours.

As reported by Associated Press, Farouq's book, "Is Egypt Really a Poor Country?" was posted online by activists but it has not yet been published. However, authorities have seized 185 copies of an initial 200-copy run.

Reports added that this book has criticised President el-Sissi as well as his economic policies and argued that the fluctuation in Egypt's economy occured due to the military's monopoly of power. Even in the book's introduction, Farouq stated that President's claims on Egypt's poverty have "exposed the blatant ignorance of the realistic and untapped capabilities in Egypt's economy and society and the lack of vision capable of exploiting these abilities and potential."

It should be noted that, during the four-year of the Presidential term, el-Sissi has made the economy as the focus of his administration, including a hands-on drive for fiscal reform, improvement of infrastructure and constructing new cities.

Egypt's parliament includes el-Sissi's supporters and the cabinet of the president is made up with all the loyalists, which means that his policies were never being challenged.

This article was first published on October 24, 2018
Related topics : Fake news