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Journalist in hiding, home raided

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ Condemns Raids and Intimidation of Journalists in Egypt

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the Egyptian government over raids and threats that have forced an Internet journalist to go into hiding to escape police harassment.

Abdul-Jalil Al-Sharnouby, a member of the Egyptian Syndicate of Journalists (EJS) and editor in chief of the Ikhwanonline web site - the official site of the Muslim Brotherhood - has had his home raided twice by security forces over coverage of the upcoming municipal elections.

In a letter to the board of the Syndicate, Al-Sharnouby says security forces invaded his home in the early morning of 12 March while he was absent. They confiscated books, paper work and other belongings.

"It scared my wife and my young daughters," he said. He has now gone into hiding fearing that he will be detained.

"This journalist is being harassed and abused because of his work," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It is a shocking violation of his rights. The authorities must end this intimidation, return all the material seized in raids on his home and give guarantees of his personal safety."

The IFJ has pledged to fully support actions by the Egyptian Syndicate to protect its members and is concerned that Al-Sharnouby is targeted as part of the government campaign against Muslim Brotherhood activists in the run-up to municipal elections to take place on 8 April.

According to some reports around 800 Muslim Brotherhood politicians, activists and some journalists have been held. Among those detained is Khaled Hamza, the English editor of Ikhwanonline, who has been held in prison since 20 February.

"The targeting of media associated with any political group threatens attachment to democratic principles, particular at election time," said White. "This is precisely the time when standards of tolerance and democracy are most tested and when journalists should be allowed to work freely."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

For further information on the Hamza case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/91553

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