Security forces at Cairo International Airport apprehended journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada on Tuesday afternoon on his arrival from Tunis, and it is unclear where he is being held.
Ziada’s brother Mohamed wrote on Facebook that airport security personnel asked Ziada to stay for half an hour, but he later disappeared and the authorities denied knowledge of his whereabouts.
“Ahmed travelled to Tunisia six months ago to continue his studies in journalism,” he added. “He returned today to attend his enrollment meeting at the Journalists Syndicate, and he was going to return to continue his studies in Tunisia.”
Several syndicated journalists signed a statement calling on the head of the syndicate to exceptionally examine Ziada’s archive and admit him despite his absence.
The statement added, “We call on the legal committee of the syndicate to take action and file a legal report on the arrest of a colleague. And to offer proof of his job as a journalist.”
Ziada was previously arrested on December 28, 2013, while covering protests at Al-Azhar University. The charges against him included assaulting police officers, vandalism and illegal assembly. He was acquitted of the charges in April 2015 along with 12 others, while 54 defendants were sentenced to between one and seven years in prison.
During the year and a half that he was detained, he staged several hunger strikes to protest his detention without charge. In September 2014, his family reported that prison authorities threatened to put him in solitary confinement if he didn’t end a hunger strike.