Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn that Tamer Abdel Raouf, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram’s regional bureau chief, was shot dead last night at an army checkpoint in Damanhur, in the northern governorate of Beheira.
Raouf was fatally hit in the head when soldiers opened fire on his car, while Hamed Al-Barbari, a reporter for the Egyptian daily Al-Gomhuria who was travelling with him, sustained hand and leg injuries. Barbari was hospitalized in Damanhur and has undergone an operation.
The shooting took place as Raouf and Barbari were returning to their homes in the town of Kafr Al-Dawwar after they and many other journalists attended a meeting with Beheira’s governor.
The Union of Journalists quoted Barbari as saying that, as they approached the military checkpoint, they decided to take a different route and that the soldiers opened fire as they were turning round.
The army gave a completely different version of the shooting. In a statement released today, armed forces spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said soldiers fired on the car after the two journalists drove through the checkpoint at high speed ignoring calls to stop and warning shots.
Reporters Without Borders calls for an independent and impartial investigation to determine the exact circumstances of Raouf’s death. It also urges the military authorities to respect the rules of the curfew currently in force, which exempts health professionals and journalists and allows them to move about freely at night.
According to Union of Journalists member Khaled Al-Balchi, many journalists have complained that the armed forces are not respecting this exemption.
Raouf is the fourth journalist to be killed in Egypt since 14 August, the day that the new authorities began using force to disperse the sit-ins being staged by deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters.