Egyptian journalist and rights activist freed from army custody

2015-11-10 15:09

Cairo - Prominent Egyptian journalist and human rights activist Hossam Bahgat was released Tuesday two days after being taken into military custody, an official with the rights group he founded said.

"He just called us on a mobile... he confirmed he has been released from the military intelligence building and he is on his way home," Heba Morayef, associate director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told dpa.

Bahgat's detention, after he was summoned for questioning by military intelligence on Sunday, led to a storm of protest.

Amnesty International said it was "clear signal of the Egyptian authorities' resolve to continue with their ferocious onslaught against independent journalism and civil society."

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for his release earlier on Tuesday, saying his arrest appeared to be a violation of his right to freedom of expression.

Bahgat's status was not yet clear, Morayef said. On Monday, the news site he works for, Mada Masr, reported that military prosecutors had ordered him detained for four days on charges of publishing false news.

Bahgat set up the pioneering Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights in 2002. He headed it until he resigned in 2013 to turn his attention to journalism.

In October, he published an article on Mada Masr investigating a hushed-up military trial in which 26 army officers were reportedly jailed over an alleged Muslim Brotherhood plot to overthrow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Egypt has cracked down on opposition media since President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who was then head of the army, ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following massive protests against his rule.

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