Egyptian Police Forces Arrest 3 Reporters While Conducting Interviews on Al-Sisi’s Last Request

Three journalists,who were conducting street interviews in downtown Cairo, were detained by Egyptian police forces, reported ABC News.

The journalists were conducting interviews on Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s latest request for the Egyptians to donate the changes to fund development programs.

Security officials -who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media- said that the three journalists — Hamdy Mokhtar, Mohammad Hassan, and Osama al-Bishbishi — were arrested Sept. 26 and face charges of publishing false news and belonging to a banned organization, Egyptian parlance for the Muslim Brotherhood group.

The three were remanded into police custody for three days pending further investigation, they said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) said one of the three, Mokhtar, was arrested in July 2015 at the state morgue where he was covering the arrival of the bodies of Muslim Brotherhood members who were killed by security forces.

It did not elaborate, but security forces  raided what they called a Brotherhood hideout in a suburban apartment in July last year, killing nine of the group’s leaders.

The Brotherhood at the time said they were killed in cold blood.

According to CPJ, Mokhtar was released on bail two months later but sentenced in absentia to three years in prison in January 2016 for publishing false news.

In the same context, Noura Nasser -a fourth journalist- was arrested Sept. 27 as she interviewed Egyptians with postgraduate degrees protesting outside the Cabinet’s office to demand jobs.  Two days, Noura- who was released two days later-faced charges of publishing false news, according to CPJ.

last week al-Sisi suggested a mechanisms  that would allow Egyptians to donate fractions of checks they cash at banks, arguing that this could amount to millions of pounds.” It was the latest in a series of unconventional suggestions to restore the economy, and was ridiculed by many on social media,” said ABC News.

CPJ called on the Egyptian government in a statement to immediately drop all charges against the four reporters.

Joel Simon, the group’s executive director said, “The delusion that jailing journalists on charges of reporting ‘false news’ for interviewing people on the street or photographing a protest will change reality is a false hope.”

Since the 2013 military coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi,the Egyptian authorities launched crackdown on opposition, human rights activists and journalists.

“The police have shown little tolerance for journalists filming or interviewing people in public, unless it is done at government-sanctioned events or by pro-government media outlets,”according to abc News.

CPJ says 23 journalists were imprisoned in Egypt in 2015, making it the second-worst jailer of journalists, after China. The Egyptian government always refuses the accusations and denies jailing anyone because of their reporting.