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US photographer arrested, his interpreter still detained; several bloggers harassed

(RSF/IFEX) - Police arrested US freelance photographer James Buck and his Egyptian interpreter, Mohammed Saleh Ahmed Maree, on 10 April 2008 in Mahalla and took them to the nearest police station, where they were both detained.

"After being threatened and intimidated by policemen, we were taken at around 2 a.m. (local time) to see a prosecutor, who ordered our release," Buck told Reporters Without Borders. "As we left the police station, we were arrested again without any explanation. The authorities released me two hours later but my interpreter is still held."

Buck refused to leave the police station without his assistant and threatened to go on hunger strike. The police insisted that he leave and told him they were going to transfer Maree to another police station in the town.

A student of journalism at the University of California's Berkeley campus, Buck was arrested at he was taking photos of the relatives of people arrested during the 6 April protests. The police confiscated his camera's memory card.

In another development, "The Washington Post" stringer and blogger Nora Younis and bloggers Mona Seif and Malek Mostafa were stopped on 11 April at a police barricade on the road between Cairo and Mahalla and were prevented from leaving for several hours by the police, who confiscated the keys to their car. They were finally allowed to leave under police escort.

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