In response to PEN International call to action, for World Press Freedom Day, Ruth Maguire MSP has written a letter of appeal to Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, President of Egypt, calling for the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ismail al-Iskandrani. 

Ismail al-Iskandrani is an award-winning writer, investigative journalist and sociopolitical researcher who is best known for his research and writings on militant groups operating in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. He was arrested on 29 November 2015 at the airport on his return from Berlin in Germany. The authorities seized his laptop, mobile phone and personal belongings, and later presented them as evidence against him. He was held in arbitrary pre-trial detention for over two years before being referred to a military court under the pretext of revealing military secrets.

In May 2018, al-Iskandrani was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for “leaking military secrets” and “membership of a terrorist group”. On 24 December 2018, an Egyptian military court upheld the 10-year prison sentence against him. He is currently held in Mazraa prison in the Tora prison complex, where he is reportedly denied access to in-person visits with his family, as well as access to reading and writing materials. 

PEN International believes that al-Iskandrani’s detention and conviction are linked to his work, which challenges the Egyptian Government’s narrative on its counterterrorism operations.

On World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May, Ruth Maguire MSP highlighted PEN International’s Appeal in the Scottish Parliament Chamber:

Find out more PEN International’s call to action here.