Former Egyptian Diplomat Critical of Sisi Arrested and Disappeared

Former Egyptian Ambassador to Venezuela was arrested on May 29, after his house had been raided

Yehya Nigm, the former Egyptian ambassador to Venezuela was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown destination for criticizing the Sisi administration of the Renaissance Dam crisis.

Nigm appeared on 2 June 2021 after he had been forcibly disappeared for several days. The Public Prosecution directed many charges to the former ambassador, including “joining a terrorist group and spreading false news”. The prosecution ordered keeping Nigm in custody for 15 days pending investigation.

Social media activists and Egyptian news websites confirmed the reports of the arrest of Yehia Nigm, the former Egyptian ambassador to Venezuela, against the background of his criticism of the Sisi administration’s laxity in the Renaissance Dam crisis with Ethiopia.

According to human rights organizations, Yehia Nigm appeared at the Supreme State Security Prosecution on Sunday night, after he was forcibly disappeared for 7 days, while the prosecution ordered imprisoning him for 15 days pending investigation on various charges, most notably spreading false news.

In this context, the Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) said in a statement that it had monitored on 2 June  2021 the order of the State Security Prosecution to imprison Yehia Nigm (52 ​​years old – a former diplomat at the Egyptian Embassy in Venezuela) in connection with Case 915 of 2021-State Security.

The prosecution charged Yehia Negm with several charges, the most important of which are joining a terrorist group, broadcasting false news and misusing social media, four days after he was forcibly disappeared after his arrest.

What did Yahya Negm say?

Negm has been exposing the mismanagement of the Egyptian regime in the Renaissance Dam crisis, as he said, on 23 May, that the conflicting statements of Egyptian officials indicate a state of internal delirium and schizophrenia, and make the state an object of ridicule before the world.

Nigm added in his Facebook post: “It has come to the point that our opponents use it against us, because they no longer need negotiation and propaganda, because Egyptian officials adopt the Ethiopian allegations.”

The former ambassador continued: “This nonsense uttered by regime officials confirm that there are no institutions or a collective mind that runs the state, and that whoever manages matters is one party, or one person, deceiving – and even betraying – the Egyptian people until the completion of the construction of the dam.”

How was Nigm arrested?

According to the EFHR’s statement, Yahya Nigm was arrested on May 29, 2021 from home in the Zaytoun area, at dawn, by two security forces personnel, where one of them wearing civilian clothes and the other in official uniform.

They confiscated his laptop, mobile, and a sum of $200 and EGP 700. Then, he was taken to one of the National Security headquarters in the Salam area.

According to the statement, the National Security officers asked him about his posts on his Facebook page and he remained there for four days until he was brought on June 2 to the State Security Prosecution.

For its part, the family of the former diplomat confirmed its denial of all charges against him.

Also, several tweeters condemned Nigm’s arrest, stressing that he respectfully criticized the regime’s performance from within the country, and mocked calls for regime critics to return home and criticize from within Egypt.

Amr Waked criticizes arrest of Yehia Nigm

Egyptian actor Amr Waked tweeted on his Twitter account, saying: “One of the most important achievements of the rule of Abdo Amoula (a satirical name given to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi) is that he turned the country into a forest ruled by a gang of thieves and criminals. How does any national institution support this behavior? why?”

Then he asked, “Where is the army that is supposed to protect democracy, according to the constitution (after Sisi’s latest amendments)? How do you keep silent on it? Why do you allow him to threaten all values ​​and principles of rights and democracy? Why? Why are you protecting him at the expense of the interest of the country?”

One of the social media activists, ‘Hanafi Goz Fawzia’, wrote, mocking the Sisi regime’s allegations about freedom of opinion and expression: “Yehya Nigm, a former ambassador, published a post on Facebook criticizing the government for the way it handled the crisis of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. After the post, he was arrested and forcibly disappeared, and later appeared at the Supreme State Security Prosecution. Damn the military. Don’t forget (what pro-regime media professionals say: ”Come and criticize the regime at home!!”