After copies of his book were confiscated last week, prosecutors handed a four-day detention order to economic researcher Abdel Khaleq Farouk on Monday, as well as to Ibrahim al-Khateeb, the owner of the press which was printing the book, according to lawyer Ali Attia.
Farouk was arrested from his home on Sunday and taken to Shorouk Police Station, according to his wife Naglaa Salama.
In a televised interview on October 16, Farouk said that security forces seized 200 copies of his most recent book from the Al-Ittihad Printing Press in the Dar al-Salam area of Cairo, where they were being stored ahead of the publication’s release. Farouk stated that Khateeb, Al-Itihad’s owner, was also arrested despite having obtained the proper permits for printing the book.
One hundred and eighty-five of the confiscated copies were presented as evidence during Monday’s investigation of Farouk, which, according to Attia, began at 4 pm and dragged on for almost eight hours before south Cairo prosecutors decided to hand him a four-day detention order.
Attia said that Farouk faces several charges, including spreading false news that could disrupt public security and cause terror among citizens, and broadcasting false statements, reports and information.
Khateeb’s four-day detention order was issued separately on Monday evening, pending investigations into charges of participating in the publication of false news and information as part of the same case. Both Farouq and Khateeb are expected to appear before the same prosecution on Wednesday to determine whether their detention will be renewed, according to Attia.
The lawyer added that National Security Agency investigations claimed that Farouq’s book “contains some expressions, titles and information that mock the government’s management of human resources, as well as making references to the state and all competent government agencies.”
Farouk, who formerly worked as a researcher at the Center for Political and Strategic Studies at the Ahram Institute, recently finished work on his most recent book, titled Is Egypt Really a Poor Country?, which his lawyer told Mada Masr was set for public release soon. However, the author already shared a free online version of the book via his personal Facebook page on October 17.
Farouk explained in the television interview that his book criticizes current economic policy for catering to the interests of businessmen rather than supporting low-income citizens, and argues against the exposure of Egypt’s economy to the turbulence of market forces without state planning or intervention.
He added that he faced harassment when obtaining an ISBN for the book, because the book and its author were claimed to be in “opposition” to the government. Eventually, the book received the number after an intervention by the Ministry of Culture.
He has authored several books, the most recent of which was Economics of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the World (2015).
*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Farouk’s book Is Egypt Really a Poor Country? as unreleased. It has been amended to reflect that the author shared a free, online version of the work on his personal Facebook account on October 17.