By GHADA ATEF
CAIRO: The Journalists against Torture observatory issued a statement Wednesday highlighting violations against 31 journalists in Egypt during the first half of January 2014.
The observatory said nine cases in which journalists’ rights were violated included beatings and theft of their equipment. Seventeen journalists were arrested while covering clashes, of which five were released, two were prevented from covering clashes, and three are facing judicial accusations.
Journalists against Torture General Coordinator Ashraf Abbas said in the statement that “‘terrorism’ was the scarecrow the government used to repress journalists during coverage … preventing them from doing their job.”
Al-Jazeera correspondents Mohamed al-Omda and Mohamed Saleh were arrested in January, in addition to Hassan Abdulla who was accused of working for Al-Jazeera and inciting violence.
Not only did the government abuse journalists’ rights, said the statement, the Muslim Brotherhood also attacked journalists while they were covering clashes and protests. Journalist Islam Abu Khatwa was seized, beaten for one hour and his camera was destroyed by Brotherhood members.