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Egyptian security forces detain Mada Masr journalist from home

Security officers also confiscated Shady Zalat's latptop, cell phone and work documents
Zalat has been a Mada Masr editor since 2014 (Mada Masr)

Security forces arrested a journalist from his home in Cairo early on Saturday, Egyptian independent news website Mada Masr reported.

Mada Masr said that after loud knocks on the door, four security officers in plain clothes asked for Shady Zalat, 37, without identifying themselves or presenting an arrest warrant.

Zalat, who lives with his wife and daughter, has been one of Mada Masr’s editors since 2014.

Security forces confiscated his laptop and that of his wife, as well as a several documents related to his work, the news website said in a statement.

Mada Masr said security officers had monitored Zalat's building on three separate occasions in one day and had asked the doorman about the journalist's apartment, work and car. It is not clear when the surveillance took place.

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Moments after detaining Zalat, the officers returned to his house to retrieve his mobile phone and informed his wife that he was being taken to the Giza security directorate.

Mada Masr said it still has no confirmation of his whereabouts.

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"He has done nothing more than use words to report the news. His arrest marks yet another escalation in the crackdown against journalism in Egypt," the statement said.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's government has led a brutal crackdown on dissent and opposition voices since coming to power in a 2013 military coup that removed Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi.

On 12 October, journalist and activist Israa Abdel Fattah was detained by plainclothes security officers and was reportedly beaten after refusing to unlock her cell phone.

A day earlier, Associated Press translator Mostafa al-Khatib was also reportedly detained.

Abdel Fattah told prosecutors that she was tortured after her arrest, including having her sweatshirt stripped from her and used to choke her, and being hung with her handcuffed hands above her head for eight hours.

The arrests come after Sisi and his government have faced the largest public show of discontent in years.

At least 3,120 people, including well-known activists, journalists and lawyers, have been arrested since 20 September, when protests erupted over a series of corruption allegations levelled by businessman Mohamed Ali against Sisi and other top officials.

Hundreds of those arrested in the September crackdown have been released, but others - including prominent activist Alaa Abdelfattah, who is not related to Israa Abdelfattah - have faced renewed detention. 

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