Raouf, Beheira bureau chief for the state paper Al-Ahram, was killed when
Egyptian soldiers at a checkpoint opened fire on his vehicle as a nightly
military-imposed curfew was about to begin. The attack, which took place in the
Nile Delta city of Damanhur, also wounded Hamid al-Barbary, Beheira bureau
chief for the state newspaper Al-Gomhuria.
told CPJ that Abdel Raouf had offered to drive home several journalists after a
joint meeting with the new governor of Beheira. The two of them were the only
ones left in the car as they approached the checkpoint. Al-Barbary told CPJ
that soldiers gestured to them, telling them to leave the checkpoint, so Abdel
Raouf turned the car around. The soldiers then opened fire on the car,
al-Barbary said, and Abdel Raouf was hit in the head. The car swerved and hit a
army spokesman issued a statement
on the night of the attack, claiming the car had “raised suspicion by driving
at high speed during curfew hours near a military checkpoint without reacting
to calls or to warning gunshots in the air.” The statement also said the
soldiers thought the car was trying to escape from the checkpoint.
disputed the statement, telling CPJ that “there were no warning gunshots or
even any calls for us to stop” after the car turned around. He said the
shooting occurred shortly after 6 p.m.–which was before the curfew and not after,
as the army had claimed.
curfew, which begins every night at 7 p.m., was imposed by authorities after
security forces dispersed two sit-ins supportive of ousted President Mohamed
Morsi on August 14, igniting a week of violence that left approximately 1,000
dead. Journalists are officially exempt from the curfew.
Journalists Syndicate said it received several
complaints by journalists saying they were harassed by soldiers at checkpoints
despite showing their ID cards. News
accounts have also reported
cases of Egyptian soldiers opening
fire on civilians at checkpoints during curfew hours. The attack on
the journalists’ car took place on the same day that armed militants killed at
least 25 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai city of Rafah, according to news
military said it has opened an investigation into the incident, reports said. A day after
al-Barbary spoke to the press about the shooting, the army issued another
statement, accusing the journalist of opening fire on the checkpoint. The prosecutor
general subsequently ordered al-Barbary to be taken into custody. He was
released two days later, according to news reports.