Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Egyptian journalist Anas Fouda, a senior editor with the MBC media group, was released by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates on 4 August and was deported back to Egypt the same day.
However the organisation recalls that the UAE authorities held Fouda arbitrarily for more than a month without charging him and without saying why or where he was being detained. He was not allowed to talk to a lawyer or his family at any time while held.
After his return to Egypt, Fouda told the Egyptian TV stationONtveg that all of the questions put to him during interrogation concerned his relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. He said he sympathized with the Muslim Brotherhood ideologically but denied any political or organizational links.
In an interview for the Egyptian TV stationEl Balad on 4 August, Diaa Rashwan, the head of the Union of Journalists in Cairo, praised his union’s cooperation with the Egyptian foreign ministry, Egypt’s diplomatic and consular services in the UAE, the Association of Emirati Journalists and the UAE authorities.
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Adel Atty said a total of 14 Egyptian citizens, including journalists Mohamed Ali Mousa of El-Khalij and Ahmad Ja’far of Al-Ittihad, are still being held in the UAE in connection with efforts to create a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE.
Their arrests are part of a crackdown that the UAE authorities launched since June 2012 against anyone with (real or supposed) links with Al-Islah, an Emirati group that shares the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology.
Observers with international NGOs, foreign journalists and even Emirati journalists working for government and government-linked media were denied access to the courtroom during the “UAE 94” trial that ended on 2 July, while several people were arrested for posting reports about the trial online while it was taking place.