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Police harass journalist and his family

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the organized attacks led by police officers against Alaa Al Gamel, a reporter for the weekly "Sout Al Ouma." Security forces repeatedly stormed his house in Giza between 30 June and 11 July 2009. Between 10 and 11 July, they broke into his house six times. Moreover, the perpetrators spread rumors in Alaa's neighbourhood that the journalist is wanted for committing a crime.

Speaking to ANHRI, Alaa said, "this blatant police attack started after my press campaign against extending service for some high-ranking individuals and relocating generals (minister assistants) and other officers who have a proven record of blunders." Recently, the journalist published a report entitled "Police Generals Promoted to 'Criminals' Rank.'"

Not only did the police officers intimidate and pursue this bold reporter, they targeted his family as well. More than 35 five security service vehicles surrounded his house in the village in Assiout claiming they were carrying out a search for hidden weapons. The officers then spread another lie, claiming that Alaa was wanted for assaulting a police officer in Cairo.

ANHRI condemns the minister of interior for allowing his officers to smear the reputation of this reporter who just did his work and wrote about some issues at the ministry. ANHRI urges the minister to specify if Alaa is facing any legal action. Otherwise the minister should ensure that his officers cease harassing the journalist at once.

ANHRI condemns the security forces' bullying of reporters who reveal information to the public. ANHRI holds the minister of interior responsible for the safety of Alaa and for any harm done to him by police officers.

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