Journalist arrested for taking photos without permission

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of Hamada Abdul Latif, the correspondent of the independent weekly Al Karama in the province of El-Dakahleya, who was arrested on 21 May while covering peasants being evicted in Dekernis, 150 km north of Cairo. He is accused of “taking photographs without permission” and “confronting the authorities.”
“The charges do not in any way justify keeping Abdul Latif in detention,” the organisation said, voicing concern about the deterioration in the situation of press freedom in Egypt in recent months.
“The interior minister, Gen. Habib Ibrahim Habib Al-Adli, must ensure that both Egyptian and foreign journalists are able to work freely and without fear for their physical safety,” Reporters Without Borders said, noting that some 15 journalists were harassed, beaten or threatened by the security forces during protests on 12 May.
Four foreign journalists – French photographer Jean-Claude Aunos of Gamma, French freelancer Olivier Bonnel (who is working for the French daily Ouest-France), Swiss freelancer Grégoire Durus and Belgian freelancer Thomas Gadisseux – told Reporters Without Borders they were detained and beaten at the same time as Abdul Latif while covering the events in Dekernis.
“We were following the expulsion of 22 peasants families when things got out of hand,” Aunas said. “We were hit and our equipment was seized. Then we were taken to a police station where we were questioned for more than two hours before being released.”
The Dekernis public prosecutor is scheduled to consider a request for Abdul Latif’s release tomorrow.