Watchdog condemns arrest of Egyptian editor

CAIRO (AP) — A leading media watchdog group condemned the arrest of an editor-in-chief of one of Egypt’s last independent news platforms, who was eventually released late on Thursday after an extensive interrogation, her outlet said.

Editor of the al-Manassa news website Nora Younis was arrested on Wednesday pending investigation into charges of managing a news website without an operating license after security forces raided her office in Cairo, al-Manassa said of the government’s latest attempt to clamp down on news media.

After spending the night in police custody, Younis on Thursday appeared before prosecutors, who fined her USD625 and ordered her release from a police station in southern Cairo’s Maadi district, the outlet reported. Late on Thursday, several hours after the release order, security forces let her go home.

“By means of constant administrative stalling, the authorities prevented Al-Manassa from legalising its situation, so that the lack of an official permit to operate became a pretext for judicial proceedings,” the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders said.

The group urged Egyptian authorities to “stop persecuting independent media”. In recent months security forces have also targetted the senior editors of another independent outlet, Mada Masr, for arrest and harassment. Most of Egypt’s other news agencies are either state-owned or have been acquired by companies affiliated with the country’s intelligence service.