New York, July 9, 2013–Four Turkish journalists in Egypt were briefly taken into military custody today, following an assault on another Turk on Sunday, according to news reports. Separately, an Egyptian journalist was severely beaten by Muslim Brotherhood supporters last week.
Turkey has been a target of popular protest in Egypt for characterizing the military takeover that ousted President Mohamed Morsi as a coup. The Turkish embassy has begun preparations for a possible evacuation of Turkish citizens, news reports said.
“Journalists, whether local or foreign, have a right to cover the events in Egypt without fear of being harassed or attacked,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “We urge authorities not to resort to arbitrary arrests and to hold to account any groups or individuals who engage in physical attack.”
The four Turkish journalists taken into military custody–Star TV reporter Murat Uslu, Star TV cameraman Zafer Karakaş, A Haber reporter Fatih Er, and A Haber cameraman Tufan Güzelgün–were all released after being detained for several hours, according to news reports.
The two TV crews were detained in separate incidents, but were held in the same detention facility. A Haber reported that its journalists were detained in Nasr City because the military said they did not have proper press accreditation. The army confiscated the equipment and passports of Star TV’s Uslu and Karakaş after authorities said they did not have the proper accreditation, although Uslu said they did have documentation, news reports said.
On Sunday, Bilge Egemen, reporter for Turkish Plus One TV, was assaulted by a group of anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square after describing Morsi’s ouster as a coup rather than a popular revolution, news reports said. Egemen tweeted, “We were about to be lynched in Tahrir today just because we are coming from Turkey. We narrowly saved ourselves.”
Separately, an Egyptian journalist, Tamer Fayez, was assaulted by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood on July 2 while covering clashes in Bein al-Sarayat near Cairo University that killed at least 21 people, according to news reports. Fayez, a photographer for the independent news website Hoqook News Network, told CPJ that Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked him with iron rods and knives after he was accused of being a police officer. He had been taking photographs of Muslim Brotherhood members firing weapons.
Fayez was hospitalized for five days, including one day in the intensive care unit, with a concussion and broken ribs. Pictures posted by Hoqook show extensive bruising and cuts all over his body. In a statement, Hoqook held the Brotherhood’s leaders responsible for the attack and condemned systematic attacks on journalists by members of the organization.
The attacks and detentions come as tensions between Morsi supporters and opponents continue to boil over. Today, a memorial in front of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate for slain Freedom and Justice photographer Ahmed Assem el-Senousy, who was killed Monday by a sniper, devolved into a scuffle between the two sides, according to news reports.
Also today, Dutch officials confirmed to CPJ that a Dutch woman sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square on June 28 was not a journalist. Initial news reports had identified her as a reporter.
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Egypt page.