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Egypt: Belgian reporter arrested and beaten, still held

Attacked: Dumont said: “It was heavy-handed and violent. I was hit several times in the face. They claimed I was pro-Baradei. I was then taken to the military in one of the barracks on the outskirts of the city. I was given a glass of water from the Nile, they told me, so that I would catch diarrhea. I am being guarded by two soldiers with Kalashnikovs and bayonets. They say I will be taken before the intelligence services. They say I am a spy.”

Belgian journalist Serge Dumont was arrested Wednesday in Cairo, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported. The Middle East correspondent of three newspapers – Belgium’s Le Soir, Switzerland’s Le Temps and France’s La Voix du Nord – was arrested and beaten by men in plainclothes at midday while in the central neighbourhood of Choubra. He was then taken to a military post, where he was accused of “spying” and was told he would be handed over to the security services

“We urge the Egyptian authorities to free Dumont immediately and to return all the equipment seized at the time of his arrest,” RSF said. “The accusation of spying is both false and utterly far-fetched. Dumont has been a well-known journalist for years, one who is widely respectly by his colleagues.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Dumont’s arrest is one more example of the way the Egyptian authorities are violating the right to impart information and trying to silence international coverage. Foreign reporters, like their Egyptian colleagues, should be able to work freely. Harassing and arresting journalists is not going to help the Egyptian government to escape the crisis.”

In a phone call with Le Soir, Dumont said: “It was heavy-handed and violent. I was hit several times in the face. They claimed I was pro-Baradei. I was then taken to the military in one of the barracks on the outskirts of the city. I was given a glass of water from the Nile, they told me, so that I would catch diarrhea. I am being guarded by two soldiers with Kalashnikovs and bayonets. They say I will be taken before the intelligence services. They say I am a spy.”

Date posted: February 2, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 100