Graphic novelist Magdy El Shafee, who was arrested along with 39 others — including 14 minors, a Syrian, and an American — was remanded with the others to Tora Prison for four days while an “investigation” proceeds, according to writers and publishers who were with El Shafee this morning:
The latest update is that El Shafee has been released on bail of 1,000LE. Nonetheless, the 5 p.m. protest at the Journalists’ Syndicate was still slated to continue.
Dar Merit publisher Mohammad Hashem said the charges being investigated include use of a weapon, attempted murder of police officers, and damaging public and private property. Novelist Muhammad Aladdin added that there were seven charges in all.
Elisabeth Jaquette, writing at Words Without Borders, listed them as: demonstrating, threatening to use force, acquiring an unlicensed weapon, carrying weapons and ammunition, the attempted murder of three police officers, assaulting a public officer, and destroying private and public facilities.
El Shafee was arrested yesterday during clashes at Abdel Moneim Riyadh Square, which he had apparently approached in order to stop them. Al Mogaz quoted author Mohammad Fathi as saying El Shafee didn’t try to escape from police “because he didn’t do anything.”
El Shafee, whose pioneering graphic novel Metro has appeared in English and in Italian, was dogged by Mubarak-era censors. Metro was banned soon after its 2008 publication on the grounds that it “offended public morals,” although it’s likely that El Shafee’s portrayal of endemic corruption also touched a chord. El-Shafee and his publisher were both arrested, tried, and fined 5,000 LE.
El Shafee’s work has also appeared in World War 3 Illustrated; the publishers there have posted a photo of El Shafee from his court appearance that came from Sameh Samir; they have urged US readers to call the Egyptian embassy at 202-895-5400.
Photo of Magdy El Shafee being released:
In Words Without Borders from Elisabeth Jaquette: Magdy El Shafee Arrested and Held at Tora Prison