3 photojournalists arrested for ‘unlicensed photography’

Sarah El-Sheikh
2 Min Read
A photojournalists with his mouth tapped holds up his camera as he demonstrates with fellow colleagues in front of the journalist's syndicate in Cairo against repeated attacks on members of the press in Egypt on April 4, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD KHALED)

Security forces arrested three photojournalists on Monday while they were shooting a video in the vicinity of the Press Syndicate in downtown Cairo. They are currently being held in Qasr Al-Nil police station.

The three photojournalists, Hamdy Al-Zaeem, Mohamed Hassan, and Osama El-Beshbeshy, are accused of unlicensed photography. They were scheduled to be released a few hours after their arrest, but National Security orders interfered and hindered the release.

Lawyer Fatma Serag told Daily News Egypt that that the three photojournalists were investigated overnight by national security authorities, and are expected to be referred to the prosecution in the next few hours.

Explaining why their release was withheld, Serag noted that El-Zaeem was previously sentenced in absentia to three years in prison on bail, which impacted the release procedures.

In a Facebook post, the head of the Freedoms Committee in the Press Syndicate, Khaled Balshy, said: “indicators regarding the photojournalists’ conditions are not reassuring.”

Balshy explained the three photojournalists’ conditions, saying that National Security interfered at dawn on Monday and hindered their release, adding that the police station has also denied on Tuesday that they were being held, even though their lawyer Fatma Serag saw them in the prison, albeit they were blindfolded.

Later the prison admitted that they were being held in detention, but did not permit any visitors or food for them, explaining that this was upon order of the National Security apparatus, according to Balshy.

A police officer who passed by the photojournalists while they were shooting in downtown Cairo apprehended the three and ordered that they be taken to Al-Tahrir police station.

Several photojournalists have been arrested or prevented from taking pictures recently due to the ongoing security crackdown against journalists.


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