x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Times journalist detained, threatened and expelled from Egypt 

Boris Johnson raised the case directly with the Egyptian foreign minister 

A giant campaign poster in Cairo in support of President Sisi. Times journalist Bel Trew had been readying herself to cover the upcoming elections when she was expelled from her home of seven years. Fethi Belaid / AFP
A giant campaign poster in Cairo in support of President Sisi. Times journalist Bel Trew had been readying herself to cover the upcoming elections when she was expelled from her home of seven years. Fethi Belaid / AFP

A British journalist for The Times has been expelled from Egypt, the newspaper said on Saturday, in a move it said reflected the "oppressive environment" created there for the press.

Bel Trew was driven to the airport and forced to board a flight in February, but the London-based paper held off commenting publicly as it sought to negotiate her return to cover elections starting on Monday.

This had proved fruitless, and a spokeswoman said: "The Times deplores this attempt to intimidate and suppress our coverage."

The paper said Ms Trew, who had lived in Cairo for seven years and had been reporting for The Times since 2013, was held after interviewing a relative of a man who died on a migrant boat to Europe.

"In late February, Bel Trew was arrested and forced to leave. Her detention and the threats made against her were sufficiently outlandish to suggest a mistake had been made," the spokeswoman said.

"We have been trying to ensure her safe return to Cairo to cover the presidential election. It is now clear that the authorities have no intention of allowing her to return."

A spokesman for the British embassy in Cairo told the paper that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson "has raised the case directly with the Egyptian foreign minister".

"The Egyptian authorities have not shared any evidence of wrongdoing. We will continue to press them on this," the spokesman said.

Agence France-Presse sought a response from the Egyptian foreign ministry but it was not immediately available.

The media in Egypt have been under close scrutiny in the lead-up to the elections, in which Mr Sisi is the main choice on the ballot paper.

There has been an increase in the number of cases of journalists being arrested and websites blocked.

_______________

Read more:

Turkish press freedom fears as Erdogan ally to buy Hurriyet

Iran sentences British-Iranian national to six years for spying

German journalist freed from Turkish jail, pending trial