CAIRO: Egypt has arrested an economist and his publisher over a book that challenged President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s economic policies, security officials said on Tuesday, the latest in a wave of detentions in recent years targeting all forms of dissent.
The officials said prize-winning economist Abdel-Khaleq Farouq and his publisher, Ibrahim el-Khateib, were detained on Sunday.
The two face charges of publishing “fake news”, according to the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to brief the media.
The book entitled Is Egypt Really a Poor Country? has not been published, but was posted online by activists. It contains scathing criticism of el-Sisi’s economic policies, accusing the general-turned-president of lacking the vision needed to remedy Egypt’s economic woes.
Farouq blames the country’s poor economy on what he called the military’s monopoly of power since 1952, when officers toppled the monarchy.
The book’s thesis is primarily a repudiation of an assertion made by el-Sissi that Egypt was a poor country that could no longer afford costly state subsidies on key commodities and services, for decades a cornerstone of state policy to help the poor make ends meet.
Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2018
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