|IFJ calls for immediate release of Belgian reporter held in Egypt|
|Written by the International Federation of Journalists|
|Wednesday, 02 February 2011 00:00|
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have today called for the immediate release of Belgian journalist Maurice Sarfatti, also known as Serge Dumont, who was arrested in Cairo by security forces and is being held at an unidentified military facility. Sarfatti, a reporter for a number of European newspapers, including the Belgian daily Le Soir, Le Temps of Geneva and la Voix du Nord in France, was arrested while covering a pro- Moubarak demonstration on allegations of spying.
"These accusations of spying are absurd and prove the arbitrary nature of our colleague's arrest," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. " Maurice is a bona fide journalist who was reporting on the unfolding crisis in Egypt like many other journalists. We urge the authorities to release him immediately and to end violence against media."
Media reports say that Sarfatti was snatched by plain- clothes security officers in the district of Choubra, downtown Cairo who severely beat him, alleging he is a supporter of Egyptian opposition leader, Mohammed Al Baradei. He was taken to a military facility where he was accused of spying and warned he would be handed over to the secret services, according to his colleagues in Belgian who spoke to him on his mobile phone.
The IFJ says Dumont is the latest victim of brutal violence of Egyptian police and security forces after last week's beatings of media staff, including journalists of Al-Jazeera and France 2.
"There is clear evidence of police's attempts to intimidate media through violence in a bid to suppress independent reporting in the Egyptian crisis," added Boumelha. "We condemn these desperate tactics and hold the authorities responsible for the safety and wellbeing of Sarfatti."