Posted: June 21, 2005
Shaymaa Abol Kheir, Al-Dustour
Abeer al-Askary Al-Dustour
On May 25, government supporters beat several foreign and local journalists covering a protest over limited presidential elections. Journalists interviewed by CPJ said that Egyptian security forces did not intervene. Journalists said they suspected some of the assailants were actually security agents.
More than a dozen journalists filed complaints with the Prosecutor-General’s office against the leadership of Egypt’s ruling party and specific officers who were present at the melee. Since that time, CPJ learned, at least two female reporters were pressured by security forces to withdraw their complaints. One journalist, Shaymaa Abol Kheir of the weekly independent newspaper Al-Dustour, who was beaten and groped by female government supporters, told CPJ that security agents have conveyed messages to her through relatives and neighbors. Abol Kheir told CPJ that agents told her neighbors that her brothers would be detained and that she would face legal charges unless she dropped her complaint.
Another journalist who filed a complaint, Abeer al-Askary, also from Al-Dustour, told local journalists that her family received a visit from individuals who identified themselves as General Intelligence agents, warning her and her family that they would face serious consequences unless she dropped her complaint. Journalists who spoke to al-Askary told CPJ that she was informed that her siblings would lose their government jobs and that her parents could be detained. Neither journalist has dropped her complaint.