An Egyptian journalist working for Al-Shorouk newspaper was arrested late Sunday and detained for 11 hours without charge.
The journalist, Haitham Radwan, said that he was randomly arrested along with nine others, and only three of them were released, Al-Shorouk newspaper reported.
Radwan told the newspaper that at 7:30 pm on Sunday, after withdrawing a sum of money from an ATM located in Al-Taawon district in Giza governorate, a number of people blocked his way and pulled him into a white microbus with no registration plate. He was kept in the microbus for five hours with nine other individuals.
“I was inspected by a low-ranking-police officer, he took my wallet, my money, the work ID and a number of personal cards,” Radwan told Al-Shorouk.
Radwan told the police that he works as a journalist, but a low ranking officer attacked him and told him he will be taken to the police station.
Eleven hours later, Radwan was released from Talbiya police station without his money or ID, Al-Shorouk reported.
In the meantime, security expert General Mahmoud Nour El-Dein denounced the police action towards the citizens, and described it as an “individual attitude”.
“The police officer has no right to arrest any citizen unless he was caught in the very act of a crime, or to prevent a crime from happening,” Nour El-Dein told Al-Shorouk.
On the other hand, Khaled Al-Balshy, a board member of the Press Syndicate, condemned the “kidnapping of Radwan”. He also said that neither Radwan nor the newspaper contacted the syndicate to interfere or to take an action.
“Radwan was released before the syndicate learned of the incident,” Al-Balshy told Daily News Egypt.
Moreover, he said the danger of such action is not only in arresting the journalist, but also taking the same approach with citizens. “Such actions are considered kidnapping.”
Al-Balshy also stated that a day before Radwan’s incident, a photojournalist was covering the Al-Ahly match in Suez Stadium and was arrested by the stadium’s security forces. After contacting the syndicate, the photojournalist was released.
According to Al-Balshy the syndicate issued a statement highlighting the 35 journalists in prison since August 2013. Three were released recently.
Furthermore, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) criticised the “abduction” of Radwan, adding that the Egyptian security institutions continue encroaching on journalists, with no respect to the constitution or any international conventions protecting the journalism profession.
ANHRI called on the Egyptian authorities to “play their role in respecting the provisions of the constitution, and to put an end to security bodies’ ongoing violations against the press and journalists”.
According to ANHRI, there is a list of 60 journalists who are imprisoned in the Egyptian jails since August 2013, under various charged, such as publishing crimes, belonging to a banned group, or protesting. Further, many others have been abducted by police forces and were sent to unknown places.