Hala Fahmy is a senior TV presenter with the rank of general manager at the Egyptian state television. She worked as a broadcaster for a number of Egyptian TV channels.
The targeting of Fahmy began on 28 February 2022 when she and her colleague, director Wafaa Barakat, were denied access to their workplace in the Radio and Television building (Maspero). This came after the National Media Authority decided on 17 February 2022 to refer Fahmy to an investigation based on a memorandum submitted by the head of the television sector. She was suspended from work for three months, paid only half of her salary, and prevented from entering the Maspero building until the investigations were completed. She was not notified of the decision or summoned for investigation through any official or unofficial means.
Fahmy said the decision to refer her to investigation came against the backdrop of her support for and participation in Maspero staff protests that demanded improving employment conditions, specifically the payment of arrears for employees and pensioners. Fahmy had previously held a sit-in at the office of the head of Channel Two with the aim of encouraging her colleagues to continue demanding their rights and not to give them up, according to her.
Fahmy posted a video on Facebook last April, while she was outside the Nozha police station, in which she said she was being pursued by unknown people and that she sought help from the security forces at the police station. After that, plain-clothes security men stormed Fahmy’s house and searched it, but she was not there. All contacts with Fahmy were cut off after her phone was turned off for two days. She was arrested on 24 April 2022 and appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution on the same day without the presence of a lawyer.
The Supreme State Security Prosecution charged Fahmy with joining a terrorist group and spreading false news at home and abroad. Then, it remanded her in custody pending investigation into Case No. 441 of 2022 (Supreme State Security Prosecution).
According to AFTE’s lawyer, the State Security Prosecution interrogated Fahmy about a number of videos that she posted on Facebook regarding the Egyptian economy, as well as a number of posts on the crisis of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Emirati investments in Egypt.
The security force that arrested Fahmy had confiscated the key of her apartment, three mobile phones, and a sum of 12,000 pounds. Neither Fahmy nor her defense panel knows until this moment whether this was proven in the seizure report or not.
On 16 May, Fahmy announced that she had gone on a hunger strike in protest against ill-treatment in prison, her continued detention at the new inmates’ ward, and depriving her of the right to read, exercise, and communicate with others, thus violating the prison regulations and representing a further abuse against her. Fahmy’s hunger strike lasted three days.