Hossam El-Meneai, an Egyptian filmmaker arrested 22 January along with American translator Jeremy Hodge from their Cairo apartment, was released from police custody Sunday night.
Drew Brammer, a friend of El-Meneai and reporter for Egypt Independent, said that although El-Meneai was released without bail, his charges of “spreading false news and endangering the stability of the nation were still pending”. Brammer said that police “still have his passport, laptop, camera,” and other belongings.
Brammer said that that El-Meneai suffered from harsh treatment while in prison, adding that he was left in a cell with dangerous criminals instead of political activists. “[The police] didn’t even want to talk to him,” Brammer said of El-Meneai’s 18 days in prison.
El-Meneai and Hodge were originally questioned for two hours inside their apartment in the presence of their third flatmate, Nizar Manek, a British citizen studying Arabic at Cairo University. Hodge and El-Meneai were then moved to another facility to be interrogated further. There, they were held incommunicado for three days.
According to Hodge, the 36 year-old Al-Arish native was tortured physically and psychologically in prison.
Hodge, released 26 January, said that during his detention he “witnessed Meneai being regularly beaten and psychologically assaulted by Egyptian police and National Security,” and that “at one point, a police officer put a gun to Meneai’s head and threatened to pull the trigger”, according to a press statement released by Egypt Independent. Although he was not physically harmed himself, Hodge was forced to watch El-Meneai’s brutal treatment.
A court date has not been set for El-Meneai’s case.
The reasons for El-Meneai’s release were not immediately clear, but authorities have been facing pressure from activists within Egypt and the international community following the arrests of numerous journalists.