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Egyptian journalist missing after arrest, 2 others referred to court
Journalists Syndicate

A reporter working for the privately owned Al-Bawaba newspaper went missing on August 17 after being arrested by National Security Agency officers, the pro-state newspaper reported on Sunday.

Reporter Abdallah Rashad was leaving the newspaper’s headquarters in Dokki when he was arrested and taken to a National Security Agency office in Sheikh Zayed, Al-Bawaba reported citing an anonymous security source, after which he was uncontactable.

Giza police denied knowledge of Rashad’s arrest, Al-Bawaba reported.

Representatives from the newspaper said they would hold the Interior Ministry responsible for Rashad’s safety and called for his immediate release, adding that they would file a report with the prosecutor general claiming the journalist has been forcibly disappeared if they are unable to ascertain his whereabouts.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) voiced its concern about Rashad’s safety in a statement on Monday: “If Egyptian authorities are detaining Abdullah Rashad, they should announce the reason for his arrest and allow the journalist access to a lawyer and his family,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Holding journalists incommunicado and denying them access to legal representation is an unacceptable way for a country to operate.”

Meanwhile, the prosecution released two journalists working for the Fekra Post website, Alaa Asran and Khaled al-Asmar, and referred them to a misdemeanor court for allegedly filming without a permit, lawyer Hazem Mohamed told Mada Masr on Monday. The first hearing in the case is scheduled for September 9. The two were arrested on Sunday while filming in downtown Cairo and taken to Abdeen police station, where they were questioned by National Security Agency officers.

The journalists were reportedly asked whether the website they work for has permission to operate in Egypt, according to Mohamed, who explained that the website is owned by the Egypt-based Arab Media Center NGO.