Britain’s Times slams Egypt over journalist’s deportation

Bel Trew
Updated 25 March 2018

Britain’s Times slams Egypt over journalist’s deportation

LONDON: Egypt has deported a British journalist working for The Times, the newspaper said on Saturday, describing an “increasingly oppressive environment” for media in the country ahead of next week’s presidential election.
The Times said its correspondent, 33-year-old Bel Trew who had been based in Cairo for several years, was arrested while reporting and “forced to leave Egypt.”
“The Times deplores this attempt by the Egyptian authorities to intimidate the media and suppress our coverage,” a statement by the newspaper said, adding that Egyptian authorities had “no intention of allowing (Trew) to return.”
Egypt’s government foreign press center, the Interior Ministry, and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s office, did not respond to phone calls and requests for comment via WhatsApp.
Trew said in a separate article published by The Times that she was detained by police in central Cairo on her way to conduct an interview, held for almost 24 hours and then “marched onto a plane” at Cairo airport bound for London.
Her deportation follows what human rights groups call a crackdown on press freedom aimed at stifling dissent in the run-up to the March 26-28 presidential election.
Egyptian authorities have urged legal action against media outlets they deem to be publishing “fake news,” and rights activists say several local journalists have also been arrested in recent months.
El-Sisi, a former military commander, is virtually guaranteed to win a second term after all serious opposition pulled out of the race citing intimidation after a major challenger was jailed.
The election commission says the vote will be free and fair and El-Sisi has said he wanted more candidates to run.
El-Sisi’s critics say he has presided over an intensifying crackdown on dissent. Supporters say tough measures are needed to stabilize the country after years of unrest that followed a 2011 popular uprising.
A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said the foreign secretary had raised Trew’s deportation with his Egyptian counterpart.
“The Egyptian authorities have not shared any evidence of wrongdoing. We will continue to press them on this case,” she added.


Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague

Updated 17 November 2019

Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague

  • Muath Amarneh has been in an Israeli hospital since he was hit in the eye Friday during clashes
  • Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied Sunday with one eye covered in solidarity

JERUSALEM: “The eyes of truth will never be blinded,” protesters’ placards read, as Palestinian journalists wore eye patches Sunday to decry the wounding of a colleague in the occupied West Bank.
Muath Amarneh has been in an Israeli hospital since he was hit in the eye Friday during clashes between Israeli border police and Palestinian demonstrators in the village of Surif, close to Hebron in the southern West Bank.
Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied Sunday — protesting with one eye covered in solidarity.
Amarneh, who is being treated in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, said he was some way from the protesters when he was hit by what he believes was Israeli fire.
“After the clashes started, I was standing to the side wearing a flak jacket with press markings and a helmet,” the freelance cameraman told AFP on Sunday.
“Suddenly I felt something hit my eye, I thought it was a rubber bullet or a stone. I put my hand to my eye and found nothing.”
“I couldn’t see and my eye was completely gone.”
He said doctors at the hospital told him a fragment of metal, about 2 centimeters long, pierced the eye and settled behind it near the brain.
Amarneh’s cousin Tareq, accompanying him in hospital, said doctors planned to extract the metal but changed their minds after discovering they could also damage the right eye or even trigger bleeding in the brain.
A spokesman for the Israeli police denied that the photographer was targeted, saying fire was “not directed at all” toward him.
“The security forces operated in the area in front of dozens of rioters, some of them masked, who threw stones at officers and burned tires,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“The response by the forces was using non-lethal means in order to disperse the rioters.”
Amarneh, who comes from the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, claimed he was targeted as a journalist.
“There is an unnatural and ugly targeting of journalists,” the father-of-two said.
Since the incident Palestinian journalists have launched a campaign, with protests in several cities in the West Bank.
In Bethlehem Sunday, border police dispersed a sit-in by journalists at the checkpoint north of the city, an AFP journalist said.
Demonstrators wore eye patches and held signs aloft.
Tear gas cannisters were fired by the border police, the journalist said.
Seven people were lightly wounded, according to Palestinian health officials.
In the city of Tulkarem, about 250 journalists took part in a sit-in to show solidarity, according to journalists present.
A video and photos of Amarneh spread immediately after his injury, with journalists trying to carry him with blood flowing from his left eye.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate says 60 journalists have been hit by live ammunition this year, the majority in Gaza — an enclave where violent weekly protests along the border often lead to dozens of demonstrators being wounded.