The arrest of Mohammed Oxygen, the creator of “Oxygen Egypt” Blog, a new episode in the series of exterminating freedom of expression

Cairo 8 April, 2018

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that the policy of surveillance and arrest against Egyptian journalists and bloggers must end, state agencies must respect the provisions of the constitution that support freedom of expression and ANHRI demanded the disclosure of the place of detention of Mohammed Ibrahim, AKA Mohammed Oxygen, and his immediate release.

Mohammed Oxygen is a young blogger named Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed Radwan, a graduate of the Workers’ University and an employee at a publishing house, his only dream was to carry around one camera walking through the streets of Cairo to document what he sees in audio and video, the footage he had encouraged him to create an online blog and a YouTube channel to share what he sees as it happens, and what he likes, which according to him is his love for his work and shooting video, he does not belong to any political party and has no interest except in documenting events through video, and therefore the security bodies continue to persecute him because of his YouTube channel “Oxygen Egypt”.

He made some interviews on his channel with well-known figures, such as novelist Alaa Al Aswani, Ambassador Masoum Marzouq, Dr. Mamdouh Hamza, lawyer Gamal Eid and other public figures, only out of his passion for his work and to convey their points of view as they are. According to him, what makes him angry is that sometimes he gets classified in categories according to the content of the video he shoots and publishes, when he made a video with the mother of the boy who was hit by the procession of the former president Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood accused him of being “Fuloul” (pro-Mubarak), and when he shot a video criticizing Air Marshal Ahmed Shafiq, Shafiq’s supporters accused him of belonging to the Brotherhood, and he insists that he neither belongs to the “Fuloul” nor to the Brotherhood, and that all he wants is for the people to know the truth and what is going on around them, not by th word of mouth but by a documented video. Despite all this, and as a continuation of the systematic policy of repression towards freedom of expression, he was arrested yesterday, and his place of detention remains unknown.

ANHRI said that “The arrest of Mohammed Oxygen is a new episode of exterminating freedom of expression, although it is guaranteed in the Constitution. One week has not gone by since the announcement of Sisi’s victory and his new presidential term, and the attacks on freedom of the press and expression continued, starting with the fining Al-Masry Al-Youm and Masr al-Arabia websites, and then the editor-in-chief of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper and one of its editors were referred to investigation, then the headquarters of Masr al-Arabia website was raided and its editor arrested on the pretext of issuing a website without a license, and when he submitted documents that prove that there is a license, the court decided refer him to the prosecution, which charged him with new charges, such as publishing false news and promoting the Muslim Brotherhood, and then sentenced him to 15 days imprisonment pending investigation. In addition to all that, journalists’ articles are being banned and restrictions are imposed on them with a clear intention to accomplish the elimination of any voice that is out of tune and as a clear warning to anyone who wishes to express a different opinion.”

ANHRI calls on the Egyptian authorities to release Mohammed and all journalists and bloggers detained pending freedom of expression cases and to put an end to the security restrictions on media platforms and to prosecuting their creators without any pretext other than expressing their opinion. Moreover, freedom of opinion and expression should be upheld, as well as the other rights under its umbrella, such as, freedom of the press and the right to access information as a main framework for the right to knowledge which is guaranteed in the Constitution.

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