CAIRO: The printing house of Wasla, a magazine issued by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), was raided by security forces late Saturday on charges of promoting the Muslim Brotherhood and issues of the publication were confiscated, according to an ANRHI statement.
Wasla is a non-periodical publication aimed at linking older writers and politicians with younger youth bloggers and activists, and includes a collection of diverse writings and opinions posted online, ANHRI said.
“The crackdown on civil society has begun, and the new regime’s intentions have been demonstrated quicker than expected, as this attack comes only one week after new President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi assumed power,” ANHRI Executive Director Gamal Eid said in a statement.
Eid said in a tweet that the June 1 issue of Wasla, entitled “His Majesty the King” and featuring an image of Sisi wearing a crown on its cover, is the reason behind the confiscation.
“The confiscation is a prelude to the fate of freedom of expression and civil society through fabricating absurd accusations like belonging to the MB,” Eid added in his statement.
Security forces seized around 1,000 copies of Wasla at the print house and arrested Khaled Shazli, a worker there. The police report claimed that Wasla incites against and calls for the overthrow of the regime, ANHRI said in a Sunday statement.
ANHRI also said the police report claims Wasla was issued without a prior notice to the Cairo governor, promotes the MB and that the print house operates without a license.
Shazli is being held on these charges, as well as being accused of belonging to the MB. The owner of the print house, Mohamed Mubarak, is also facing charges for distributing the publication.
ANHRI said in statement Wasla does not endorse any opinion and as a non-periodical publication, it does not need a license. It added that the print house and its workers are not responsible for the content of the publication.
“Affiliation with the MB is a contrived charge since ANHRI and its director have nothing to do with the MB or any political or religious groups,” ANHRI said in its statement.
The Constitution prohibits the confiscation of any publication without a judicial warrant, ANHRI added.
Wasla was first issued in 2010 and has released around 70 issues thus far.