Controversial TV host Reham Saeed was ordered to be jailed, Monday, for four days over charges of inciting child abduction and selling through her TV show, Sabaya el-Kheir, aired by the privately owned channel Al Nahar. Egypt’s Prosecution accused Saeed of inciting child kidnap, airing false news and committing a child-selling crime. The prosecution has investigated Saeed and several of her show's crew over an episode about child abduction and selling.
The episode aired January 22 shows two children being kidnapped and sold by a mediator between one of the show’s crew and a professional gang. Gharam, 22 years old, one of the Sabaya el-Kheir show editors was arrested by the police forces after being accused with inciting against the two children’s kidnapping. Two other arresting orders against Reham Saeed (the host) and the show editor-in-chief, Akram al-Nahas were issued later.
In statements on February 9, to al-Kahera w al-Nas (Cairo and the people) channel, Gharam’s lawyer, Mohamed Qenawy said that the girl who came to Cairo only six months ago cannot be affiliated with such a crime. “She is just a girl who came from Beheira governorate six months ago to work in the media field. She was assigned by her superiors to do a mission, and she did it; unfortunately they are now leaving her alone,” Qenawy said.
He also claimed that the interior ministry arrested the editor in response to the show’s delay in reporting the whole crime. “They were angry that the crew didn’t coordinate with them from the beginning.” According to the lawyer, Gharam was given a phone number by her boss who told her that he is a mediator named Islam. He was supposed to put her in contact with a professional gang that abduct and sell children.
According to the plan, Gharam was supposed to play a role of women who wishes to buy a young child. Instead of just one, Gharam indeed was offered to get two children aged between 5 and 6 years old. Everything was supposed to end when the police stepped in and arrested the mediator trying to sell Gharam the two-children with LE 150,000 for each. The whole scene was aired during the show.
Later, the mediator told the prosecution during the investigations that he abducted the two children per Gharam’s request; accordingly, the editor was arrested over charges of inciting kidnapping. She was jailed for 15 days by the prosecution. Until Sunday, February 18, the 22-year-old editor remained in jail as no one from the show’s crew showed up to say their testimony or to prove her innocence, which was found a “very strange thing” by the Gharam’s lawyer.
In her testimony to the prosecution early on Monday, Saeed said that she didn’t receive any orders from the prosecution, and that she was not requested for any investigations. She denied knowing anything about the whole deal details, or being part of anything aired during this episode of her own show. The prosecution ordered that Saeed will remain in custody for four following days per the investigations.
Rumors have surfaced on social media that the whole case was fabricated by the show just to be aired during the episode; this however shed the light on several other similar situations for Saeed in which she was accused of violating victim’s privacy and fabricating incidents just to be used for the favor of her television show.
In October 2015, Saeed’s show, Sabaya el-Kheir, faced suspension and she was investigated for using private pictures for a sexual harassment victim and airing it in her show.
The whole incident took place after a CCTV video of a Cairo shopping mall went viral on Facebook of a man slapping a woman, named Somaia, in the face after a short conversation, Saeed interviewed Somaia, then aired private pictures of the woman, including one of her wearing a bathing suit. Somaia later said that staff at Saeed’s studio “stole” the pictures from her phone while it was charging out of her sight at the studio. Saeed said that it would be “unfair” to blame the man, as Somaia was not dressed “appropriately” at the time of the incident; Somaia appeared in the video wearing jeans and a sleeveless shirt.
A massive online campaign sprung up in response to Saeed, calling on companies to stop sponsoring the show or broadcast their advertisements during its air time. However, later the show resumed and the harasser was arrested and released. Shortly later he (the harasser) returned again and cut Somaia’s face with a knife out of revenge. Somaia published a photo of herself showing the scar.
FILE- sexual harassment victim, Somaia
Saaed has conducted several interviews which caused lashes waves against her, starting with interviewing an atheist women and kicking her out in the middle of the episode, to meeting with girls who claimed to be possessed and others inside a prostitution house.
Long lists of accusations and social media rage waves hit Saeed more than once for alleged defaming victims and fabricating cases; however still Saeed manages to continue her show.