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A view of the Giza Pyramids, taken from Cairo Tower on October 23, 2019. Security officers raided the Cairo offices of Mada Masr on November 24 and detained three staff. (AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed)

Egypt raids critical news outlet, detains staff

November 24, 2019 10:51 AM ET

November 24, 2019—The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemned today’s raid on the office of independent Egyptian news website Mada Masr by Egyptian authorities, which included the arrests of three staffers. CPJ called on the government of Egypt to end its campaign of intimidation against the outlet and to release all Mada staff.

Mada has shown nothing but courage in reporting the news against all odds and in the face of brutal repression,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator. “Egyptian authorities must end their retaliation campaign against Mada Masr and release its staff from custody immediately.”

Nine plainclothes security officers raided Mada’s office in Cairo, detaining staff for three hours and ordering them to switch off their phones, the outlet said today. Afterwards, authorities arrested Mada staffers Lina Atallah, Mohamed Hamama, and Rana Mamdouh and detained them for additional questioning. Their detentions follow the arrest of Mada editor Shady Zalat at his home in Cairo yesterday. The outlet announced today that Zalat had been released.

Last week, Mada published a report citing sources within Egypt’s intelligence services who said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s son Mahmoud had been reassigned from a senior position within the General Intelligence Service to a diplomatic position in Moscow due to perceptions that he failed to adequately handle his duties.

Mada Masr was previously blocked in Egypt in 2017. Mada columnist Alaa Abdelfattah was arrested and beaten in late September, and another Mada reporter, Hossam Bahgat, was detained in 2015 after publishing a critical investigation into the Egyptian army, according to CPJ research.

Egyptian authorities have arrested at least eight journalists since September’s anti-government protests, according to CPJ research.

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