24 January 2021: State security forces arrested cartoonist Ashraf Hamdi on false news charges at his home in Giza for posting a video on Facebook dedicated to Egypt’s 2011 revolution, reported Reuters.
The video was removed from Facebook.
According to Reuters, the video’s publication coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, which toppled then-President Hosni Mubarak.
In the since-removed video, Hamdi included a character speaking about freedom and revolution.
“I am the voice when the world wants silence. I’m the one who stood in the face of injustice, corruption, tyranny,” the character in the video said, reported Middle East Eye.
Hamdi was allegedly accused of having misused social media sites and disseminated fake news, both criminal offences but authorities have not disclosed a specific reason for his arrest, reported Committee to Protect Journalists.
His arrest follows the extension of emergency laws that Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly issued ahead of the revolution’s anniversary.
Thousands of people reacted to a post the artist uploaded to his personal Facebook account, saying “I’m getting arrested”. They expressed great concern about the whereabouts of the artist.
Hamdi is recognised for his cartoon blog Egyptoon. It showcases Egypt’s social and political matters through cartoon characters in a humorous way.