Egypt Watch

Businessmen in Egypt under bombardment from the authorities

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said that security authorities in Egypt are pursuing several Egyptian businessmen and their projects, not for criminal causes, but over their political attitudes or opinions against the Egyptian authorities.

ANHRI added in a statement on Tuesday that expressing an opinion which opposes the Egyptian authorities puts the person in a critical position under the persecution of the state through measures such as enforced disappearance, a travel and financial ban, and detention.

ANHRI cited several cases of well-known businessmen who have been arrested recently without clear criminal charges and without fair trial.

One of them was Engineer Mamdouh Hamza, whom the Supreme State Security Prosecution accused of committing terrorism through his posts on Twitter and inciting the residents of Warraq Island to resist police attempting to expel them from their houses. Another case was Sayed Ragab Al-Swerky, the owner of the Tawhid Wal Nour shop series, who was arrested in December 2020 on charges of financing terrorism and joining a banned group, without explanation of the details of these charges. In January 2021, the state froze his stocks and properties in a blunt violation of private property and the free market.

Safwan Thabet, the owner of Juhayna Food Industries, is another example. The well-known businessman was arrested in December 2020 for his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, although he donated EGP 50 million (then worth about $6 million) to the Tahya Misr official fund. The Egyptian authorities did not stop here, but two months later, they arrested his son Seif Thabet, who is the CEO of Juhayna, without any clear charges.

Among the detainees of the so-called “hope cell” was Omar Shenity, the CEO of Multipillars Investment Group, who is a well-known Egyptian economist. He was detained after a meeting with several well-known peaceful politicians such as ex-parliamentarian Ziad El-Elaimy, who were working on forming a parliamentary electoral alliance called “the hope alliance.”

Finally, ANHRI pointed to the case of tycoon Salah Diab, the owner of Al Masry Al Youm private daily, who has been repeatedly arrested over the past years because he refused to support Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s regime.