Egypt’s Foreign Ministry denounced Tuesday the statements made by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday concerning the arrest of journalist Hossam Bahgat.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid was quoted in the statement as saying: “Ban’s statements included individual cases and jumped to conclusions and assumptions regarding freedom of expression in Egypt, despite the clear violations Bahgat made according to the penal code.”
He also called on Ban to “be more accurate, focus on other systematic violations taking place in other nations”, allegedly still deprived of their basic rights, according to the statement.
As a member of the UN Development Program’s Global Civil Society Advisory Council, Bahagat’s arrest was reviewed during Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric’s Monday noon briefing.
“This is just the latest in a series of detentions of human rights defenders and others that are profoundly worrying to the Secretary-General,” Dujarric said.
He added: “The Secretary-General again underscores the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech and association in Egypt. He strongly believes that pluralism and vibrant civil society are key for achieving long-term stability in the country.”
Bahgat was summoned for interrogation by the military intelligence on Sunday over a controversial investigative report in Mada Masr news website, charged with reporting false news concerning national security and is detained for four days in an unknown location pending investigations.