The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned on Sunday the “dragging and kicking” of a journalist by security belonging to state-run Al-Ahram during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
Speaking in a video to ONA news agency, journalist Ahmed Mourad said he and a number of other temporary journalists were prevented from entering Al-Ahram in March and were suspended.
Al-Ahram’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Ahmed Al-Naggar, however, told the Daily News Egypt that “Mourad was never [hired]”. Al-Naggar said the man had only interned at Al-Ahram and chose to “leave the organisation two months before I came”.
Al-Naggar believes that Mourad is using the fact that several temps had been hired in the organisation for his benefit.
Al-Naggar said one of the temps appointed in the organisation was disabled and that the percentage of people with disabilities working at Al-Ahram is 16%, which is far above than the required percentage.
Mourad himself has physical disabilities, and according to the ANHRI statement, was threatened by one of the security guards who caused him permanent disabilities, in addition to what he already suffers from.
The assault to which ANHRI refers reportedly occurred when Mourad attempted to enter Al-Ahram and the building’s security guards assaulted him and destroyed his phone. Police had earlier asked Mourad to temporarily move his sit-in there from its previous location at the Press Syndicate – where he had been on hunger strike for 45 days – as it was closed for Eid holidays.
Prior to that, Mourad had waited for months for a special committee to be formed to look into his suspension but the committee was never formed, he said. It was then that Mourad began the sit-in and hunger strike.
ANHRI said what Mourad was subjected to is a “clear and explicit violation of freedom of the press and the freedom to hold peaceful sit-ins”. The NGO also called for immediate investigations into the incident.