Opponents of Mohammed Morsi wave national flags at a protest outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Monday. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
Opponents of Mohammed Morsi wave national flags at a protest outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Monday. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

Journalist dead, several attacked in Egypt

New York, July 1, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the security of journalists covering ongoing mass protests in Egypt. One journalist was killed and six others were injured while covering demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi over the weekend, according to news reports.

In response to the mass protests, the Egyptian army demanded today that Morsi must address demonstrators’ demands or face intervention within 48 hours, according to news reports.

“Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have fostered an atmosphere where journalists are attacked with impunity,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa coordinator. “We call on all sides to respect the safety of the media and urge journalists to take precautions for their security in this dangerous climate.”

Millions of Egyptians took to the streets over the weekend to seek Morsi’s resignation. At least 16 people were killed and 781 injured across the country on Sunday alone, according the Ministry of Health said, according to news reports.

On Saturday, Salah al-Din Hassan, 37-year-old reporter with independent news website Shaab Masr (Egyptian People), was killed by a homemade bomb thrown by an unidentified person while covering a demonstration against Morsi in the city of Port Said, the website reported. The bomb was hurled at protesters in Shuhada Square; Hassan picked it up to throw it away but it exploded, killing him and injuring 16 others, according to news reports. Ayda Sobh, Hassan’s mother, blamed Morsi’s supporters for hurling the bomb, according to the reports.

On the same day, unidentified assailants threw Molotov cocktails and beat a group of journalists, including correspondents for private satellite television stations, who were meeting at two cafés to prepare for covering the demonstrations in Suez governorate, according to news reports. The assailants chanted anti-media slogans as they attacked, Khalid al-Balshy, a board member of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, told CPJ. The journalists’ equipment, including cameras and laptops, was destroyed, according to al-Balshy. Three journalists–Mohamed Kamal of Al-Youm Al-Saba’a newspaper, Ragaei al-Attar of website Suez News, and Karim Anwar of Al-Badil newspaper–were beaten and hospitalized, according to news reports.

On Sunday, reporters Ahmed Ragab and Ahmed Al Nagar with the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm were hit by birdshot while covering attempts by protesters to burn the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, the paper reported. Brotherhood members inside the building in Mokattam shot live ammunition and rubber bullets and threw Molotov cocktails out of the windows at anti-Morsi protesters, killing eight, according to news reports. Seventy people were injured, the reports said.

Also Sunday, Al-Arabiya news TV reported that Morsi supporters gathered in Raba’a Al-‘Adawiyya Square in Nasr City forced its crew to leave the square.

Today, a group of unidentified assailants beat Omar Zoheiry, a photographer with the daily Al-Watan, at Mohammad Mahmoud Street near Tahrir Square, according to news reports. All of his equipment was stolen, the reports said. He suffered injuries across his body and was hospitalized for treatment.

Also on July 1, the Dutch embassy in Cairo said in a statement that a 22-year-old Dutch woman was repatriated after being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square on the evening of June 28. Egyptian news reports initially identified the woman as a television reporter, but Dutch officials told CPJ on July 9 that the reported details about her profession were incorrect. Egyptian officials said they were investigating the assault, the Dutch embassy said.

  • For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Egypt page.

Editor’s note: The original headline, first paragraph, and final paragraph of this alert have been corrected to reflect that a Dutch woman who was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square was not a journalist, according to Dutch officials.