Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmad Abu Draa, an award-winning reporter for the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm and the TV station ONTV, who was arrested at a state security office in El-Arish, in North Sinai, when he went to seek the release of a close relative on 4 September.
Yesterday, Draa was taken before a military prosecutor in the neighbouring province of Ismailia, who ordered him held for two weeks for the purposes of investigation. According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, he is still being held in Ismailia.
He is accused of publishing false information about the armed forces, photographing and filming in military areas, having links with a terrorist group and provoking the military.
His arrest follows reports in Al-Masry Al-Youm about civilian casualties resulting from military operations in the region. An article published on 3 September reported that four civilians had been injured in an attack by three air force planes on a village in the district of Sheikh Zuweid.
The day of his arrest, the newspaper published an article by Draa about a plan by the government and military to establish a buffer zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip that would entail displacing the civilian population.
Draa was awarded the 2013 Samir Kassir Press Freedom Prize in the “investigative reporting” category for an article entitled “African smuggling gangs turn Sinai into torture land” that Al Masry Al Youm published on 11 July.
At least six other journalists are currently detained in Egypt.
Source: Reporters without Borders (RSF), 6 September 2013