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Egypt adds 145 people, including journalists, to terror list

March 27, 2019 at 12:54 pm

An aerial view of Rabia Adaweya Square where tens of thousands people protest against the military coup that removed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt on July 26, 2013 [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]

Egypt has added some 145 people to the country’s terror list, including two journalists, as the country’s crackdown on press freedom continues, Arabi21 has reported.

The Court of Cassation announced yesterday that journalists Moataz Matar and Mohammed Nasser were to be kept on the list for at least five years, claiming their programmes were supportive of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood party.The two journalists, now based in Turkey, fled Egypt after the military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, and brought, then military General, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to power.

Matar and Nasser are regularly targeted by Egyptian media, who accuse them of promoting terrorism and attempting to destabilise the country. The two regularly appear in videos on Matar’s YouTube channel discussing current affairs in the Middle East.

READ: Egyptian court jails 82 people for post-coup ‘violence’

Egypt has witnessed an immense suppression of freedom of speech under President Al-Sisi. Some 500 websites have been blocked in the country in recent months, under the justification of “national security”.

Hundreds of journalists and human rights activists have also been arrested and held without trial, allegedly as part of its counter-terrorism strategy, which even extends outside its borders. As one of the countries boycotting Qatar in relation to its alleged support of terrorism, in June, Egypt also asked Interpol to help find and arrest 30 senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders living in the tiny Gulf state.

Those arrested often face torture or are sentenced to execution, prompting strong condemnation from numerous international human rights organisations.

Earlier this month, Egyptian photojournalist Mohammed Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan was released from prison, having been detained since 2013 after covering the Rabaa massacre for a British news agency. He had been convicted in a mass trial of a series of charges, including attempted murder, attacking police, and burning public and private property.

At their trial in September, 75 defendants were sentenced to death, 47 were given life prison terms, and 612 were sentenced to between five and 15 years.

READ: Egypt calls for BBC boycott over ‘biased coverage’