Egypt court orders release of pro-government TV host

Khairi Ramadan was detained for four more days pending the completion of the investigation.
Updated 05 March 2018
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Egypt court orders release of pro-government TV host

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Monday ordered the release of a pro-government talk show host accused of insulting the police and disseminating false news on his state TV program, his lawyer said.
Khairi Ramadan was released on bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds, about $570, according to his lawyer, Taher el-Khouly. The case has not been dropped, and prosecutors can appeal his release.
Ramadan was detained Saturday after a segment about police salaries. He said the wife of an unnamed police colonel had told him she was considering working as a housekeeper to supplement their meager income.
Egypt has regularly detained and prosecuted journalists since the military overthrow of an elected president from the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, part of a wider crackdown on dissent. Authorities have stepped up pressure on the media ahead of this month’s presidential election, in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi faces no serious challenge.
Authorities are especially sensitive to any perceived criticism of the police or military.
The head of Egypt’s media regulatory agency said in comments published Monday in the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper that Ramadan should be released after he offered an apology.
Makram Mohammed Ahmed said Ramadan’s continuing detention hurts Egypt’s image.
Meanwhile, a human rights lawyer who went missing days ago resurfaced before the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo, his group said late Sunday.
Ezzat Ghoneim, of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, was the first to confirm the arrest on Wednesday of a woman who was interviewed by the BBC for a report about forced disappearances that angered Egyptian authorities. The woman had said police were behind her daughter’s disappearance a year ago and that her daughter had been tortured in prison during an earlier detention, allegations denied by authorities.
The statement said Ghoneim’s whereabouts have been unknown even to his family since his arrest last Thursday, and that prosecutors have barred his lawyers from the proceedings.


Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

Updated 26 March 2019
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Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

  • A weekly round-up of bogus reports and phony facts in the mainstream and social media.

1 Fears flow over dihydrogen monoxide — aka “water” 

A deadly pollutant in Lebanon’s spring waters has been detected, according to social media rumors.

But the toxin in question — the scary-sounding “dihydrogen monoxide” — is in fact … water.

The chemical term is technically correct, though rarely used in common conversation, and has often been used in parodies, or to evoke fear in the minds of people.

Such was the case in the Middle East recently, after the South Lebanon Water Establishment recently moved to deny social-media rumors claiming spring waters are polluted with the compound.

“Some are circulating on social media a report attributed to the establishment saying that spring waters are polluted with dihydrogen monoxide — which is another unfamiliar chemical name for water,” the organization was quoted as saying by Lebanese media.

“The establishment denies what is being circulated regarding the alleged pollution or its claimed consequences,” it said in a statement quoted by An-Nahar newspaper. 

It described the rumors as a “silly joke” that will “not pass and will be prosecuted lawfully.”

 

2 France denies suspending visas for Algerians 

The French Embassy in Algeria has denied reports claiming that visa applications for Algerian citizens have been suspended in Algiers.

A statement by the embassy said: “Recently, false and strange information has been circulated, which the consul general of France in Algeria has completely denied.”

The statement, cited by Al-Ahram newspaper, described the reports as “false allegations,” adding that consulates across Algeria have not suspended issuing visas. 

 

3 Truth about Egypt student ‘disappearance’

A deputy head at a branch of Azhar University in Egypt has denied rumors claiming that a female student at the college has disappeared.

Osama Abdel Raouf said in statements quoted by Youm7 newspaper that they have contacted the college student’s family and that they confirmed she did not disappear. 

He added: “All the names and numbers of female students on campus have been reviewed and no absence cases have been registered.”

Abdel Raouf warned students of engaging in circulating such rumors, saying that those who will do so will be “immediately dismissed” from campus.