Dutch reporter Rena Netjes landed in Amsterdam on Tuesday after it emerged that she was among 20 people who have been referred to the criminal court on 29 January on charges relating to the spreading of false news.
The Netherlands Embassy in Cairo confirmed on Tuesday Netjes had left the country, and a spokesman from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that she is expected to land in Amsterdam on the same day.
In the list of 20 names provided by the Egyptian prosecution for the case, there was one Dutch national named on the list as “Johanna Identity”.
The authorities in the Netherlands became aware that this was in fact referring to Netjes “last week”, according to a ministry spokesman.
The spokesman told Daily News Egypt that Netjes was allowed to leave Egypt “after talks between the embassy and the authorities”. The spokesman said he could not confirm if Netjes would still face trial.
Four foreigners are among the 20 indicted in January, including Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste. Netjes, who worked for BNR Nieuwsradio and Parool newspaper, is thought to have visited the Marriot Hotel where the Al Jazeera journalists had set up office to meet with one of the other journalists indicted in the case. Two Britons are also on the list of those referred to trial.
Netjes has never worked for Al Jazeera.
The foreign defendants are charged with colluding with the Egyptian defendants and a series of other charges, including broadcasting false news to support a terrorist group; harming the national interest of the country; disturbing public security; instilling fear among the people; causing damage to the public interest; and possession of communication, filming, broadcast, and video transmission equipment without a permit from the concerned authorities.
In April 2013, Netjes was subject to a citizen’s arrest and interrogated by the authorities before being released.
Additional reporting by Aaron T. Rose