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TIMES journalist expelled from Egypt

Issued: 2018-03-24

Arrest and deportation of Bel Trew, a correspondent for the Times, is the latest incident in an unprecedented crackdown

Ruth Michaelson

Fri 23 Mar 2018 21.58 EDT Last modified on Fri 23 Mar 2018 22.00 EDT

Egyptian authorities threatened a British journalist with a military trial and expelled her from the country with no stated cause, in advance of the country’s upcoming presidential election.

Bel Trew, a journalist with the Times, was arrested on 20 February while reporting in Shubra, a working-class neighbourhood of Cairo, and taken to a police station. Hours later, she was driven to Cairo international airport and forced to board a flight for London.

In an account published on Saturday by the Times, Trew wrote: “The charges were never revealed to me. [But] after seven hours of detention, I was threatened with a military trial, a legal process often used against terrorism suspects or dissidents.”

“Less than 24 hours after I was first detained, I was marched on to a plane with nothing but the clothes I was standing up in. The choice before me – stay for a military trial or leave – was no kind of choice,” she wrote.

The arrest and deportation of a foreign journalist is the latest incident in an already unprecedented crackdown on press freedom in Egypt.

Foreign media workers have been subject to imprisonment or arrest in the past, but Trew’s expulsion has raised concerns about whether journalists are safe to report in Egypt ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential election on 26 March.

In a statement, the Times said that it had withheld news of Trew’s deportation while investigating if she could return to the country.

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