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3 Egyptian Journalists Arrested and Tortured Over Street Interviews

Egyptian authorities accuse three journalists of supplying pro-MB media agency with 'false reports' about the country.

Three Egyptian journalists were arrested while "conducting street interviews" on Sunday, reports ABC News. 

The defendants' lawyer Fatma Serag told the Associated Press that her clients - Hamdy Mokhtar, Mohammed Hassan, Osama El Bishbishi – were beaten and tasered during interrogation at the hands of police officers. 

Mokhtar, Hassan and Bishbishi are charged with false reporting and membership in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. 

According to Serag, authorities are accusing the journalists of reporting false news to Turkey-based and pro-MB news networks for the purpose of distorting the image of Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's rule.    

The three journalists are currently held in police custody pending further investigation. Serag revealed that the torturing took place at a Garden City police station saying, they were blindfold and questioned by domestic security agents "from the evening of Sept 26 until the next day." She also revealed that Mokhtar bears "the most visible signs of torture." 

"They are neither members of nor sympathizers with the Brotherhood," Serag said in their defence, adding that the subject of their street interviews was "the strict Islamic dress code for women in public."

She says the "random" arrest came as a result of "a raucous scene that attracted the attention of police deployed outside the nearby Press Syndicate building" after passers-by mocked them for not addressing Sisi's recent speech in which he asked Egyptians to donate their spare change to the government.  

However, Egyptian authorities and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said the latter was the subject of their interviews.

 Egypt has become the world's second-worse jailor of journalists since the crackdown on political dissidents following the controversial ouster of Mohamed Morsi, according to CPJ. 

(Photo: AFP/Khaled Desouki)

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