Security of forces arrested a journalist working for Rassd News Network (RNN) in the early hours of Wednesday, after she shot a video showing armed men, threatening security forces, who came to be known as the “Helwan Brigades”.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Interior, the video, which was released in August, was shot by a female journalist arrested from her “hiding place” in an Alexandria apartment.
An arrest warrant had been issued against her for filming the video, in which armed men said they were “fed up with the Muslim Brotherhood’s peacefulness”.
Legal adviser for the Electronic Press Syndicate Atef Al-Negmy said the journalist “has every right according to the law” to take pictures or report as part of her job, without any obstacles, as long as she is not doing so in a prohibited military zone.
“These cases are 100% political,” he said, adding that the Penal Code still contains dozens of articles that allow the arrests of journalists and activists. He said the authorities tend to use articles in the Penal Code that are not clearly defined in order to justify arrests.
The same articles that can be used to indict someone can also be used in another case to acquit someone else, he said.
Article 71 bans imprisonment for crimes relating to publishing, yet leaves the punishment for crimes related to discrimination, defamation or inciting violence up to legislation.
The ministry described RNN as a Muslim Brotherhood network. RNN is an opposition online news service, which does not affiliate itself with the Muslim Brotherhood but extensively covers Brotherhood events and rallies. The network also described the military’s ousting of Brotherhood politician and former president Mohamed Morsi as a coup.
During the video, a man speaking on camera asserted that the armed men are not Brotherhood members, but showed solidarity with the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in through a hand-sign.
However, the Ministry of Interior said on Saturday that the group aims to “spread chaos and terrorise citizens” and includes the son-in-law of prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Khairat El-Shater, which it said provided a link between the two groups.