Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Journalist Summer Said harassed by state security

Reporters without borders issued a statement on Sep 8th, on Egyptian journalist´s ordeal. She is being harassed by state security according to RWB. She used to work for the one time best english newspaper in town,Cairo Times, now sadly no longer with us(Hisham Qassem is busy with al masry al youm and his party obligations in al Ghad). Summer Said is currently working for Reuters. You can find an interview and some info about her here, and a fine personal account from her colleague at the Cairo Times , Hossam el-Hamalawy.

And here is the RWB statement in full:

¨Egypt 8 September 2006

Reuters journalist harassed by state security

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about Summer Said, a young woman journalist working for the Reuters bureau in Cairo who is being harassed by the security services. Security agents went to her home yesterday, saying she would regret it if she did not report at once to their headquarters in the south Cairo district of Lazoghly.

The authorities have made it clear to her that they have detailed information about her, including her trips abroad. She suspects her phone is being tapped but refuses to bow to the intimidation. She plans to go abroad again soon and fears she could be banned from leaving the country, which would obstruct her work as a journalist.

“This harassment is unacceptable, especially as this is not the first time that Said has been targeted by the security forces,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We will monitor her situation closely in the coming weeks.”

In 2003, Said was subjected to several lengthy interrogations by state security agents, who suspected her of being a spy. She was working for the Cairo Times at the time, while finishing her studies.

Said thinks the latest harassment is linked to enquiries she recently conducted for Reuters into the arrests by state security of 95 people on suspicion of belonging to banned organisations.¨

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