Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday evening’s police raid on the Cairo bureau of the Ihlas News Agency (IHA), a privately-owned Turkish news agency, and calls for bureau chief Tahir Osman Hamde’s immediate and unconditional release.
During the raid, the police seized the bureau’s computer equipment and its employees’ work permits. Hamde is being held at Cairo police headquarters where no charges have so far been brought against him.
The Cairo prosecutor’s office meanwhile yesterday extended Turkish journalist Metin Turan’s detention for 15 days. Reporter for the state-owned Turkish news agency TRT, Turan was arrested during the raid by government forces on Al-Fath Mosque on 16 August.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç had announced the day before that Turan was to be released, but the negotiations with the Egyptian government seem to have failed.
The Turkish embassy in Egypt condemned the extension of Turan’s detention and sent documents to the prosecutor’s office proving that he was at the mosque in his capacity as a journalist.
This abusive treatment of Turkish media personnel has come amid an increase in tension between Turkey and Egypt following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claim that Israel was behind Mohamed Morsi’s removal as Egyptian prime minister .
Three other journalists are currently being held arbitrarily by the new Egyptian authorities. They are Al-Jazeera reporter Abdallah Al-Shami and freelance photographer Mahmoud Abu Zied and Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr cameraman Mohamed Badr.
Like Shami, Zied was transferred to Abu Zaabal prison in northern Cairo on 18 August.
Zied, who strings for Demotix and Corbis was arrested along with with French photographer Louis Jammes while covering the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in by Morsi supporters on 14 August. Jammes was released within a few hours but the judicial authorities have ordered Zeid held for 15 days.
Badr has been held by the military authorities even since 15 July, when he was arrested in Cairo’s Ramses Square. Although no charges have been brought against him, his detention has just been extended by another 15 days.