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Journalists in Egypt increasingly being targeted for their work

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) demands from the Egyptian authorities to release Mahmoud Abdel Shakour, a reporter for Demotix and Corbis who is being detained in Abu Zaabal prison since being detained by Egyptian security forces during his coverage of the dispersal of a sit-in in Rabaa Al-Adawiya on 14 August 2013.

The reporter appeared in court on 24 September 2013 to determine whether his detention should be extended. His detention was extended three times prior to this for 15 days each time pending investigations. The last decision was made on 10 September. He has been accused of attacking public service employees, partaking in a protest, and joining a banned group that uses terrorism despite there being no evidence backing these claims. Abdel Shakour is not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood either and was present at the protest only as a journalist doing his work.

Seven other journalists are also being detained in the prisons of Tora and Abu Zaabal pending investigations over charges of using violence, inciting violence, and joining a group engaged in terrorism. The journalists were arrested after the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahdet Misr sit-ins in Cairo.

Abdullah Al-Shamy, a reporter for Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, is still being detained pending investigations. He was arrested on 14 August during his coverage of the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adawiya protest. His detention period was renewed three times for 15 days each time. He is expected to appear in court again in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Badr, a photographer for Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, has been detained since 16 July 2013, during his coverage of the clashes that erupted in Ramsis Square. His detention was also renewed three times for 15 days each time over accusations of possessing a weapon and attacking security forces.

Sherif Mansour, a presenter at Misr 25 TV channel, an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood which was closed after the Egyptian authorities issued a ban, is still detained pending investigations over charges of participating in the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in and inciting violence. The presenter was arrested in Al-Fatah Mosque in Ramsis district, on 16 August 2013.

A reporter at Afaq Arabiya magazine, Ibrahim Al-Darawi, is being detained since 18 August over espionage charges. Executive director of the Rassd network, Sami Mustafa and founder of the network Abdullah Al-Fakharny, as well as presenter at the Amgad TV channel Mohamed Al-Adly are also being detained over charges of planning to spread chaos in the country. They were arrested on 25 August.

ANHRI condemns the targeting of journalists and media professional by the Egyptian security forces on account of their opinions. Security forces on 22 September arrested journalists working for Al-Shurouk newspaper. Azza Moghazy and Sabry Khaled were arrested while in North Sinai. They were taken to the North Sinai Security Directorate by force and they released after being detained for a short period of time. The security forces released the two journalists after making sure they didn't belong to any pro-Muslim Brotherhood media outlets.

In addition, Ahmed Abu Deraa, an Egyptian journalist who won the Samir Kassir Award and works for Al-Masry Al-Youm, will appear before a military court on 29 September over the charge of spreading false news about the armed forces.

Emad Abu Zied, a reporter at the Al-Ahram Gate in Beni Suef governorate, who was arrested on 12 September, is still detained in the Beba directorate after the prosecution ordered that he be imprisoned for 15 days pending investigations. The prosecution accused him of disturbing public order through publishing false news and articles on the site because of an article he wrote in which he criticized the Egyptian authorities.

"Respecting freedom of opinion and expression measures the state's capability to accept opposing opinions. Egyptian authorities' ongoing prosecution of journalists on account of their peaceful opinions or editorial policies indicate the absence of political will in Egypt," said ANHRI.

ANHRI stresses the necessity of respecting all opinions that oppose the authorities, no matter how sharp the message is. AHNRI demands from the Egyptian authorities to release all journalists detained because of their jobs.

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