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News website managing editor released after security forces raid headquarters

Cairo, Jan. 15 (Aswat Masriya) – A Cairo-based news website said that its managing editor was released Friday.

Security forces raided the headquarters of privately owned Masr al-Arabia and arrested its managing editor Ahmed Abdel Gawad on Thursday.

Police personnel from the Office of Artistic Production inspected some of the devices, seized eight computers and recorded the headlines of some articles considered for publication on the website “on allegations that they are harmful to national security", the website said in a statement. 

Separately, security forces arrested on Thursday three other persons and searched their apartment, according to the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE). They are Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Freedoms Committee at the Medical Doctors Syndicate, law student Ahmed Hassan and Engineering student Hossam al-Din Hamad were arrested Thursday afternoon, AFTE said.

AFTE lawyer Mokhtar Mounir was told this is a precautionary measure to inspect leased apartments in the vicinity of the Ministry of Interior, AFTE added.

The three were taken to Abdeen police station and were referred to the prosecution Friday morning.

Egyptian poet and novelist Omar Hazek was prevented Thursday from traveling to the Netherlands as he was on his way to attend the Writers Unlimited Festival, where he was set to receive the Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression.

PEN International, an organization that promotes literature and freedom of expression, announced on its website that it was “deeply disturbed” by reports about Hazek’s prevention from traveling to the Hague to receive his award.

Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany accepted Hazek’s award on his behalf.

Hazek spent two years in prison before he was among 100 pardoned last September by presidential decree.

In a televised speech in December on the occasion of the Prophet’s Birthday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned of the consequences of a new revolution. He added that he was elected by the “people’s will”.

A version of this article was originally published in Aswat Masriya


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