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Egypt police raid two independent newspapers, detain chairman Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Egypt police raid two independent newspapers, detain chairman

Sakr has been repeatedly targeted by authorities over alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2017

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Egyptian security forces have stormed the offices of two independent newspapers, including one of the country's only English-language papers, in the latest crackdown on press freedom.
Egyptian security forces have stormed the offices of two independent newspapers, including one of the country's only English-language papers, in the latest crackdown on press freedom.

The policemen raided the offices of al-Borsa, an Arabic financial newspaper, and Daily News Egypt, a popular English-language paper, on Tuesday and briefly detained the publications' chairman, a source close to the newspapers told The New Arab.

"Plain clothes policemen claiming they were from the copyright authority stormed the offices and confiscated a dozen computers," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

"They seized the desktop computers under the pretext of an investigation into whether pirated computer software was being used."

The source added that Mostafa Sakr, chairman of Business News - the parent company of both newspapers - was detained by police only to be released later that day.

Sakr has been repeatedly targeted by authorities over alleged links to the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

In January, a court added Sakr to the authorities' terror list, which imposes a travel ban, asset freeze, loss of political rights and passport cancellation.

A month prior, his assets were frozen by a judicial committee tasked with managing the assets of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The businessman at the time denied belonging to any political or religious groups.

Human rights groups have accused the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of widespread violations that include rolling back press freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

In 2013, then-army chief Sisi led a military coup against Egypt's first freely elected leader - the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Morsi - amid mass protests against his presidency.

The overthrow unleashed a deadly crackdown on Islamists, more than 800 peaceful protesters were killed in a single day when police dispersed a Cairo sit-in demanding Morsi's reinstatement.

Egyptian courts have since sentenced hundreds of Islamists to death, including Morsi and other senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

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