Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Freed journalist Austin Mackell says not a spy, lashes out at military, state TV

By Joseph Mayton
Bikya Masr

"CAIRO: Freed Australian journalist Austin Mackell lashed out at the Egyptian military junta and state television shortly after his release from two days of detention, where he was accused of bribing locals to “incite” and cause violence in the northern Nile Delta city of Mahalla on Saturday.

Speaking to The World Today, Mackell said he was not a spy and that he had heard a number of people being tortured and beaten in the rooms next to where he, translator Aliya Alwi and American student Derek Ludovici were being held.

This is the standard line: that the people who are protesting, that the people who are fighting for their rights in any regard, are actually being paid by foreign agents,” he told The World Today.

“This is the line that state TV has run with on a number of occasions in similar cases, and it’s what happened with us as well.”.....

Their arrest has sparked continued concern over the treatment of journalists, both local and foreign, in the country. Over the past few months, a number of reporters have been accosted by the military, detained and threatened for attempting to do their job.

The day before Mackell and Alwi were arrested, two Italian photographers were detained in the Abbassiya neighborhood of Cairo while covering the protests in the area. They have been told to leave the country, witnesses said."

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