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Egyptian court frees author of critical book on Egypt's economy

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By Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) – An Egyptian court has released the author of a book about Egypt’s economy more than a week after he was arrested for questioning on charges of publishing false news, he said on Tuesday.

Abdul Khalik Farouk’s arrest on October 21 was the latest in a campaign against journalists, rights activists and government critics that have drawn wide condemnation from international rights groups.

Days before Farouk’s arrest, local media reported that draft copies of his book, “Is Egypt Really a Poor Country?”, which includes criticism of the government’s economic policies, were seized by authorities from a publisher.

Farouk said a court in southern Cairo on Monday ordered him and the owner of the print shop that published his book, released. They were released from a local police station after the hearing, he added.

Farouk described his arrest as part “of a campaign against freedom of expression” and said the confiscation of his book was an act of “security intimidation” which is illegal under Egyptian laws.

Two local newspapers had earlier reported Farouk’s release.

Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014, Egypt has seen a crackdown on dissent that activists say is unprecedented in its modern history.

Sisi’s supporters say he is working to keep Egypt stable after years of political and economic turmoil following a 2011 popular uprising.

(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Richard Balmforth)