On July 3rd, 2013, General Sisi successfully orchestrated a military coup that overthrew Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Dr. Essam disappeared that night with 8 other advisors to the President.
His family informed authorities of his disappearance and demanded to know his location and reason for his arrest. The family received a minute-long phone call from Dr. Essam in which he stated he was fine, approximately one month after the coup. Later, he called and asked his family to deliver white clothes for him at Abdein Presidential Palace, where an army general received the clothes. The family, along with the families of other detained aides, started delivering clothes and receiving laundry from that time on. By mid-August, 2013, his family started receiving letters from him. In a letter dated September 18, 2013, he told his family that his detention location, released by Al-Watan Media, was in fact correct. He was being detained at the Communications Building at the Republican Guards Club in Masr Al-Gaeda.
In December 2013, he was transferred into the Interior Ministry’s system and detained in the Al-Aqrab (Scorpion) ward in Tora prison – a notorious maximum-security facility used for political prisoners.