Last updated: 2 October, 2016

Three journalists detained in Egypt after vox pop

Three photojournalists have been detained on charges of spreading false information after conducting interviews on the streets with members of the public in central Cairo, officials said Sunday.

The trio were arrested on September 26 and remanded in custody for 15 days, according to a security official and a member of the Egyptian journalists’ union.

Their lawyer, Fatma Serag, told AFP the three had been “beaten and electrocuted” while in detention and accused of “belonging to an illegal organisation” and “spreading false news”.

Rights groups say President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government has tried to repress all opposition since the former army chief overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Journalists Ossama al-Bishbishi, Mohamed Hassan and Hamdy Mokhtar — all Egyptian — “were conducting interviews with passers-by near the journalists’ syndicate”, union official Khaled Elbalshy told AFP.

Serag said they were accused of “using recording devices to spread false information through television channels in Turkey giving a bad impression of Egypt”.

A number of members of Morsi’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood have sought refuge in Turkey as relations between Cairo and Ankara deteriorated since the Islamist’s ouster.

Serag said the journalists were filming a segment on Islamic clothing when a passer-by informed the police.

The security official said the three men had been filming without the necessary permit.

Police in May raided the journalists’ syndicate and arrested two reporters accused of “inciting protests” against the authorities.

Elbalshy himself currently faces charges of harbouring wanted men in the union headquarters.

And photographer Mahmoud Abdel Shakour has been detained for three years since he was arrested while covering the police dispersal of an Islamist protest camp in Cairo in August 2013.