Monday, February 03, 2014

Egyptian News Network Condemns Police Raid, Arrests

Egyptian news network condemns police raid, arrests

Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Feb 2014

Police arrested 13 staff at Yqeen and Hasry news networks during raids in Cairo on Saturday

An Egyptian news network has condemned a police raid on its Cairo office and the arrest of its staff.

The raid took place on Saturday after the Yqeen news network was accused of "airing false news" to incite violence against the police and army, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The office of Cairo-based Hasry news network was also raided based on the same allegation.

Thirteen employees were arrested in the raids and equipment was confiscated.

Yqeen news network slammed the raid and the arbitrary arrest of five staff members as a "flagrant violation" of press freedom.

Police verbally and physically assaulted journalists and employees, it added in a statement.

Yqeen urged the authorities to ensure freedom and dignity for all journalists.

Eight journalists, including the managing editor and three women, were arrested in the raid on Hasry, but the network is yet to make an official statement on the matter.

On Sunday, a court acquitted an Al Jazeera cameraman and 61 other defendants arrested during clashes in Cairo days after the 3 July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The acquittals came days after prosecutors put 20 Al Jazeera staff on trial for joining or aiding a terrorist group and endangering national security, a case that has provoked an international outcry.

Amnesty International has condemned the trial as a "major setback to media freedom" and "a brazen attempt to stifle independent reporting in Egypt."

The group's secretary-general, Salil Shetty, said the trial "sends the chilling message that only one narrative is acceptable in Egypt today that which is sanctioned by the Egyptian authorities."

The authorities claim Al Jazeera broadcasts biased coverage in favour of Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Al Jazeera's Cairo offices have been closed down since 3 July, when they were raided by security forces in the immediate aftermath of Morsi's removal.

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