The prosecutor has released Mohammed Zein, a staff member who was arrested during the raid, after summoning the founder of the publication, the lawyer in attendance, Mohammed Fathy told Mada Masr .
According to Fathy, Zein, who is 23 years old, was questioned about his political activities and the institution's political activities. Mohammed Hashem, the founder of the Merit Publication House, is politically active.
Hashem said that he would ignore the prosecution's summons and the upcoming event will continue as scheduled. However, as Zein was being transferred to the Abadeen Police station, Hashem went to turn himself in, stating that the young man's release depended on that.
"I went to turn myself in because I knew that my staffer was arrested – the police said that this happened because I wasn't there myself," Hashem said .
Hashem said that the censorship authorities were behind this raid but has no confirmation. However, Fathy said the raid was a result of operating without proper licensing and selling unregistered books.
Hashem also said, through a public Facebook post, that he suspects the raid curious timing must be questioned as it came just prior to the launching of a new book, "Vodka," by famed journalist Sharaf Abdel Shafy who earlier released a controversial book called "Journalism Prostitution," in which he highlighted backdoor deals of media personalities in Egypt.
“We will expose the corrupt and will hold the Sharaf Abdel Shafy event on time. We will expose the oppressors in Saudi Arabia and we will continue to support Ashraf Fayyad," Hasem said.
“If they want to scare us because of the noise we cause for them, we will continue to be noisy."
The Merit Publication House, which was first created by Hashem in 1998, is well-known for its stance on censorship and for publishing unknown writers, especially young talents who typically resort to self publication.
Furthermore, the publisher came to a stronger spotlight during the Egyptian uprising, as it provided a safe haven for protesters who needed some rest before going back to the streets.
This raid came just a day after authorities from four different state bodies raided two leading art and cultural galleries in Cairo with no official reason provided.