The first death sentence for a female journalist in Egypt — the case of Asma Khatib

12 min readMay 9, 2018


Egyptian journalist was born in 1990 married and mother of two children

Graduated from the Faculty of Media , Helwan University, worked as the director of the Egyptian section of news network since the beginning of its establishment 2011. also worked as a manager of a network page on the Facebook page which was one of the most important pages of the Egyptian Revolution 2011–2013.

July-August 2013: Asma al-Khatib participated in the press coverage of the sit-in of the supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square as part of her press work with

14–8- 2013: Security forces forcibly withdraw the sit-in of Rabia Adawiya and journalist Asma al-Khatib passes by the first near death experience by the Egyptian regime as she was reporting news , which he Documented in a film produced by Al-Jazeera entitled “They Were Injured”

video 1

Human Rights Watch also documented the experience of Asmaa al Khatib and her testimony as a journalist in covering the events of Rabaa al-Adawiya in her 2014 report
Egypt: Rab’a Killings Likely Crimes against Humanity

On the same day, the Asmaa al Khatib lost a number of colleagues and friends who died in rabia Adawi, including her Rassd photographer college Mosaab el Shamy

Asmaa Khatib were exposed to the second experiments with death in the events of Ramses — Al-Fath Mosque. These events followed a bloody fourth. The events coincided with the infiltration of groups of hired thugs to the headquarters of a monitoring network near Ramses Street
read the Asmaa al Khatib testimonial below

Asmaa al Khatib were seriously injured in the head during a press coverage of the events of the demonstrations on 6 October 2013

November -2013 The Egyptian regime began to arrest and enforce disappearance the journalists of network after a recorded videos Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was published on rassd website as a part of their journalism work and also published on Aljazeera TV Channel and they called Asmaa al Khatib for investigation by an Egyptian military court in a case known as “Rassd leaks”

Forcing Asmaa al Khatib to leave the country before she was arrested after documented torture of her colleagues Islam al-Homsi and Amr al-Qazaz for the seriousness of the situation in Egypt for journalists, as documented by Human Rights Watch International

The case of espionage for Qatar

30-March -2014
Asmaa al Khatib were surprised when she found her name in a statement issued by the Egyptian Interior Ministry Accusing her of espionage for Qatar because of her press work

As well as in a press conference of Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim and was included with others, including former President Mohamed Morsi on charges of espionage with a foreign country


· April 14, 2014 The official page of Interior Ministry published what was said to be a confession in the case of Ahmed afifi , Asmaa al Khatib were mentioned in the confession


Which later turned out to have been extracted under torture, as published by Human Rights Monitor

February 15, 2015 The first hearing of the trial of those accused of “espionage with Qatar” was held under the chairmanship of Counselor Mohammed Shirin Fahmy. The number of hearings was 99 and ten lawyers participated.

Muhammad Shireen Fahmi — Judge who sentenced the death sentence

The court issued its decision to refer six defendants to the Grand Mufti of the Republic to investigate the verdict on the death sentence, including journalist Asma al-Khatib and former president Mohamed Morsi.

  • June 19, 2016 , the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced to death and 15 years in prison for Asmaa al Khatib to become the first woman journalist to be sentenced to death hanging in Egypt, a historic precedent.
  • video4

The court upheld the death sentence for six defendants, three of whom were Ahmad Ali, Ahmad Ismail and Mohammed Kilani. In absentia were Ibrahim Hilal, former Al Jazeera news director, Alaa Sablan, a former Al Jazeera journalist, and Asma Al Khatib.

The Case of Asmaa al Khatib from the point of view of the Egyptian media pro-regime

After the verdict, the Egyptian media attacked Asmaa al Khatib and broke into her privacy and her family in an attempt to justify the ruling

The verdict was also justified by accusing her of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which al Khatib denied

The case of asmaa el Khatib in the international press

In contrast to the performance of the Egyptian media, the international press was concerned about the execution of journalist Asma al-Khatib, criticizing it as a violation of freedom of opinion and expression

report of the Independent British news paper

report of the Guardian British news paper

reports of YONHAP — the formal Korean News Agancy

report of Reuters international news agency

Report of al Jazeera news network

Report of business insider magazine

report of the Indian news agancy nmtv

report of the Malaysian news Agency Malay Mail

report of the journal — Irish news agency

Also a number of international institutions have also joined hands with Asmaa al Khatib

A statement by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on the death penalty of three journalists, including Asma Khatib

International Press Institute

more links

Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed Newspaper covers the case of the Asmaa Al-Khatib in the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate

A Tweet from the director of the “Democracy in the Middle East” project, Amy Hawthorne, on the case of Asmaa al Khatib

Documentary films and programs dealing with the story of Asmaa al Khatib



The current status of Asmaa al Khatib family
The Egyptian government sent a request renewed every six months to the international police to demand the extradition of Egyptian opposition journalists outside of Egypt, making their lives in serious danger.

Al-Khatib is currently living with her husband Ahmed Saad and her two children in Istanbul, Turkey
· The entire family has not received any form of permanent residence from the Turkish state and currently has only expired humanitarian residency that it has not been able to renew
· No material support from any party
· works as a journalist in the Huffpost Arabi /

more links

Egyptian regim demands deportation of asmaa al khatib among muslim britherhood leaders

file 25

update: may 2018

Asmaa and her family left Turkey after several visits from Turkish police to her house due to an Interpol request of extradition to Egypt

arrived to Incheon airport in South Korea and applied for refugee status in 15th may 2018 with her family

till this moment Asmaa and her family are not recognized as refugee or protected under any kind of law

the fear of extradition to Egypt is highly standing specially after the Egyptian authorities started Executing the death penalty

Update : 1 April 2021

In 2018 I arrived in South korea seeking asylum and protection as it was one of the visa free countries that my egyptian passport can get to.

I attended 4 interviews of interrogation with immigration office in Incheon city,

After 3 years of constant arduous and exhausting interrogation by the immigration office in Incheon city in korea , they just called me and handed over a notification of refusal to my asylum request

They had two reasons that were more shocking than the refusal it self:

Based on a single article by gutter press they claimed that The death sentence has been commuted in appeal to the Court of Cassation into only 15 years in jail

The korean authorities believed that 15 years in jail was not enough of a threat.

Even though, after they handed me that news during the interrogation, i gave them the real news of the official newspaper and another one by Reuters with the full detailed sentence written and video by the judge which was to assure the death sentence and Abolish the prison sentence for the Sentenced in presence


The court of cassation ruling did not include me as i am sentenced in absentia.

The Korean authorities informed me that they do not see my case as a journalism or political case but as a spying case due to the information that was given them by the Egyptian authorities.

My legal advisor in korea commented on the rejection with two points:

We can appeal the refusal but it will take years from now.

The decision was changed from approval to rejection at a higher level of the Korean authorities for unknown reasons.

My only comment is that what possibly can we appeal after 3 years of interrogations? , they for sure have the real and full picture of the case, and if they’re judging based on info they got from the Egyptian authorities then this is not just a hopeless case, but also i am in danger of extradition at some point as they see me as a spy.

So i will appeal to you, I am a good journalist, a mother of 2 beautiful boys, a wife of a good journalist whom has an additional complicated case just as i do , i am in an urgent need for political, legal, logistic and humanitarian help to find a place that will be strong enough to stand beside a real human rights case, that’s a place i would literally owe my life to.


April 2021

Government owned media production company ( Al motahida) release a 30 episodes TV series called ( the choice 2) stating the Egyptian regime perspective about the events of the military coup in 2013 .

In 4 episodes ( 7, 9, 12, 13) they again mentioned the case of the espionage with Qatar once again

The scenarios they showed were absolutely fake

The Egyptian a long with Saudi and emirates media launches a hate campaign once again and Incite against Asmaa Al khatib as a “spy and public enemy”




Egyptian journalist and TV presenter , now #AsylumSeeker in Seoul south korea