Hassan el-Kabbani, Freelance
Imprisoned:January 22, 2015

El-Kabbani, a reporter for several news websites, including the Muslim Brotherhood's news website Freedom and Justice Gate and Rassd, has been in pretrial detention since his arrest, according to news reports. In the meantime, his name was added to the sentencing phase in a separate, mass trial, resulting in life in prison.

The journalist is also a press freedom advocate and bloggerwho co-founded the "Journalists for Reform" movement in 2007. The movement, which identifies itself as a press freedom group, took a stand against the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi and is critical of the current administration. Months before el-Kabbani was arrested, he wroteseveral articlesin which he criticized the military-led government for ousting Morsi. His articles, several of which were published in Freedom and Justice Gate, also expressed support for a popular uprising against the government.

El-Kabbani was arrested in his home in the 6th of October neighborhood in Cairo and taken by security agents in plainclothes to the local national security headquarters, according to news reports and human rights groups. El-Kabbani's wife said she and her brothers were also detainedfor one day and that el-Kabbani was abusedin custody.

The reporter was charged with espionage, damaging Egypt's standing abroad, joining an illegal group, and disseminating false information to disturb public security and peace, among other charges, according to news reports. Before his arrest, his house was raided twice by police while he was out, according to the reports.

El-Kabbani's wife saidthat one of the central pieces of evidence against the journalist was a phone call he had made to Dr. Mohammed Ali Beshr, a Muslim Brotherhood leader and Egyptian politician who served as minister of state under Morsi. His wife said the phone call was for journalistic purposes.

Cairo's National Security Court continuously renewed el-Kabbani's pretrial detention pending investigation, most recently on May 5, 2015, according to local rights groups and news reports. No trial date was scheduled by late 2015.

Meanwhile, on April 11, 2015, el-Kabbani was sentenced to life in prison on different charges in a separate case, in which he was tried with 50 other defendants, including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. All of them were charged with "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the August 2013 dispersal of the sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest Morsi's ouster. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.

El-Kabbani's family and lawyer did not know he was being tried in that case until his name was read during the sentencing at the end of the trial, according to news reports. Egyptian authorities listedhim as a fugitive in official court documents and tried him in absentia, even though he was in custody for the other case.

The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, according to news reports. The date of the retrial had not been announced in late 2015.

The journalist is being held at Scorpion prison, a maximum-security facility that is part of Cairo's Tora prison complex, with restricted visits, according to news reportsciting El-Kabbani's wife.

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