The lawyer for Mohamed Badr, an Al Jazeera cameraman held in Egypt, has been cleared of charges relating to riots in Ramses Square last year. Legally, Badr is not held on any other charges, but a court must order his release from custody. We'll have more when the details are released. Four other Al Jazeera other staff members are being held in Egypt.
One person was killed in Cairo and 53 injured in Gharbia in clashes on Friday, reported Egypt's state news agency quoting the health ministry.
Egyptian military aircraft have attacked villages in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 13 people on Friday.
Military spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Ali said the strikes targeted houses, shops, vehicles and other gathering points suspected of being used by armed fighters.
Apache helicopters fired dozens of missiles at Sheikh Zuweyid, near the border with the Gaza Strip, witnesses said [AP]
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, speaking in Geneva about Egypt has made the following statement:
"We are extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media in Egypt, which is hampering their ability to operate freely.
"In recent months, there have been numerous reports of harassment, detention and prosecution of national and international journalists as well as violent attacks, including several that led to injuries to reporters trying to cover last weekend’s third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.
"Unconfirmed reports suggest that several journalists were wounded by live fire as well as rubber bullets last Saturday, some of which may have been fired by opponents of the government as well as by police and other government forces. This accentuates the difficult and increasingly dangerous environment for journalists trying to carry out their work in the country.
"A significant number of other journalists covering events related to the anniversary were detained by the authorities, although most are reported to have now been released.
"Wednesday’s announcement that the Egyptian Prosecutor-General intends to bring to trial 16 local and 4 foreign journalists alleged to have worked for the international broadcaster Al Jazeera, on vague charges including “aiding a terrorist group” and “harming the national interest”, is also of great concern.
"It has not only placed a sharp focus on the systematic targeting of Al Jazeera staff – five of whom are actually in custody - since the fall of the previous government last July, but also led to increased fears among the media in general, both national and international, which is clearly deeply detrimental to freedom of expression and opinion.
"Journalists working for other media organizations have reported being attacked by government supporters after being accused of working for Al Jazeera. A video has also emerged which appears to show a police officer threatening a camera crew working for another TV station that, if they did not stop filming, he would tell bystanders they worked for Al Jazeera so that they would be attacked. If confirmed, this lends credence to allegations that the anti-Al Jazeera campaign in Egypt is, on occasion, amounting to incitement to violence.
"We have also received numerous reports of intimidation of journalists, who have had their equipment seized, and in some cases of local journalists who have been sacked for reporting on sensitive issues. There are also reports of journalists in detention being subjected to ill-treatment or being held in conditions that are not in line with international human rights standards.
"We urge the Egyptian authorities to promptly release all journalists imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities in exercise of their fundamental human rights. It is the State’s obligation to ensure that the right to freedom of expression is respected, and that journalists are able to report on diverse views and issues surrounding the current situation in Egypt.
All reports of violence against journalists, including the attacks on 25 January, must be independently and transparently investigated."
Egypt on Thursday warned users of social media such as Facebook and Twitter of arrests if they incited violence through their posts, saying they were being tracked. The Interior Ministry said authorities were using "modern technology to track" those inciting violence against police and civilians, and for posting information on how to make explosives. [AFP]
Egypt's Interior Ministry says it has arrested 11 Muslim Brotherhood members, accusing them of running Facebook pages inciting violence against the police. It alleged the group used the social network site for "inciting violence, targeting citizens, making bombs and carrying threatening messages." It said one member called for the formation of an Islamic army and two others circulated names and pictures of police officers. Thursday's arrests were some of the first to target alleged Brotherhood members for Internet activity. [AP]
Egyptian officials say they have barred entrance to the country to 52 Shiite pilgrims from India who came to visit historic Shiite Muslim shrines. The Indian passengers arrived Wednesday with the intention of staying in the country 24 hours to visit Cairo's famous Hussein Mosque, among other sites, before traveling to Iraq. After security officials refused them at the airport, the group left directly for Baghdad. Shiites sometimes face discrimination in largely Sunni Egypt. [AP]
Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste appeared in court in Cairo on Wednesday to appeal against his detention. The appeal was denied, and Greste, along with four other Al Jazeera employees, remain in detention without charge.
An Egyptian photojournalist was killed, three were wounded with gunfire and six were arrested while covering the third anniversary of the start of the country's uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, their union said on Tuesday. While many Egyptians marked the day with celebration, violence marred demonstrations held by supporters of the ousted Islamist president as security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition to break up crowds. [AP]