Africa

Egypt police raid news outlet after journalist arrest

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Three Egyptian news editors from local news outlet Mada Masr have been referred for prosecution after plainclothes police raided its office on Sunday, the site said.

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"We have just got our phones and laptops back. Security forces left. Lina Attalah, Mohamed Hamama and Rana Mamdouh have been taken to the prosecution service, according to one of the men who entered our offices," the independent news site said.

It posted on social media that nine plain-clothed officers questioned the journalists on site for several hours, demanding that they unlock their phones and laptops and hand them over.

The whereabouts of the three who were detained is not yet known.

Sunday's raid came at around 1:30 pm (11:30 GMT), a day after Shady Zalat, 37, a news editor who has worked at the prominent website since 2014, was arrested at his home.

The news website's Twitter feed said Zalat was released later on Sunday at around 5:30 pm ((15:30 GMT).

Mada Masr publishes investigations into corruption and security issues in both Arabic and English.

It published a controversial article last week alleging that President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's son Mahmoud would be transferred to Moscow on a diplomatic posting.

His reassignment from a senior intelligence post in Egypt came after he had been criticised within the security apparatus, Mada Masr reported.

Moments ago, the Egyptian security forces raided the offices of @MadaMasr, the last major independent news organization in Egypt and detained a group of journalists.

This raid has the potential to be a death blow to media freedom in this country.

— Jared Malsin (@jmalsin) November 24, 2019

The article, citing unnamed Emirati and Egyptian officials, gave details about the country's security agencies at a time when press freedoms are shrinking in the Arab world's most populous nation.

AFP approached the interior ministry for a comment to no avail.

A Mada Masr journalist, speaking from outside the news site's building, told AFP on Sunday that police officers were still inside.

He described seeing several vehicles belonging to the security forces and was met by plainclothes police officers at the entrance of the building.

"They initially prevented me from entering then they took me up to the sixth floor, where the office is. We knocked on the door and I saw my colleagues for a fraction of a second," he said.

"A policeman, also plain-clothed, said we don't wanRead More – Source