Ismail Iskandarani: Egyptian researcher, after seven years in military prison

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Monday, academic researcher and journalist Ismail Al-Iskandarani was released after seven years in military prison.

Ismail was arrested on November 29, 2015. In May 2018, a military court sentenced him to ten years in prison after convicting him of several charges, including joining a terrorist group and disclosing military secrets. A higher military court reduced the sentence to seven years in prison in October 2022.

Ismail was known for his reports on Sinai, the home of military insurrection in Egypt, since 2004 when a terrorist group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdes started to launch attacks on tourist sites. His writings addressed the state’s turbulent policies in Sinai and the military’s aggressive treatment of civilians, which gave a push to the mutiny. Ismail, based in Berlin, gained an international reputation as an erudite researcher and trusted source on Sinai affairs. In 2015, Ismail was arrested at Cairo Airport after arriving from Berlin to visit his family in Egypt.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists 2021 report, Egypt has become one of the largest prisons in the world for journalists after it ranked third in the list of countries that hold the most significant number of journalists, after China and Myanmar. Egypt also fell to 168th in the 2022 Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders.