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Egyptian journalists, activists mourn young reporter's passing

Hundreds show up at Egypt's press syndicate headquarters to mourn death of journalist El-Hosseiny Abu-Deif, who was shot to death during last week's clashes outside presidential palace

Zeinab El Gundy, Wednesday 12 Dec 2012
Abuo Daif
The white banner reads "the ultimate power [equals] ultimate corruption. The journalists refuse the constitutional declaration and the draft constitution" (Photo: Zeinab El Gundy)
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Egyptian journalists and activists Wednesday evening bid farewell to journalist El-Hosseiny Abou-Deif, who passed away Wednesday morning following one week in a coma after sustaining a head injury during last week's clashes outside the presidential palace in Cairo.

Hundreds of Egyptian journalists and activists gathered at the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate's downtown headquarters, where they chanted against the Muslim Brotherhood while waiting for Abu-Deif's body to be released from the nearby New Qasr Al-Aini Hospital.

A funeral march for Abu-Deif is planned to set out from syndicate headquarters to the nearby Tahrir Square, where protesters, activists and journalists plan to conduct funeral prayers at the Omar Makram Mosque.

Mourners of different ages and political backgrounds expressed their sorrow and anger over the young journalist's untimely death.  

Abu-Deif, a 33-year-old journalist who worked for private weekly Al-Fajr, had been covering last week's clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi when he was shot by unknown assailants using live ammunition.

Eyewitnesses and friends of Abu-Deif who had accompanied him to the protest accuse Brotherhood members of killing him as he stood among a crowd of anti-Morsi protesters.

Journalists and activists at the Journalists Syndicate held banners that read, "We are all El-Hosseiny Abu-Deif." Mourners also chanted "El-Hosseiny, may your blood liberate the nation," and "Down with Muslim Brotherhood rule."

Critics from the opposition usually argue that Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, is more loyal to the Islamic group than the nation.

Journalists and activists also criticised the absence of syndicate head Mamdouh El-Wali from the funeral.

Prominent writer Saad Hagras told Ahram Online: "There is a journalist who has been killed, assassinated in front of everybody. The syndicate head should carry the coffin, but unfortunately I cannot find him."

At the same time, dozens of protesters gathered outside Cairo's New Qasr Al-Aini Hospital, including a number of the late journalists' friends and his fiancée Seham El-Wakeel.

As of 9pm local time, El-Hosseiny's funeral had yet to begin as the body was still undergoing an autopsy at the hospital.

Abu-Deif's death on Wednesday brings the total death toll from last week's clashes outside the presidential palace to ten, including both supporters and opponents of the president.

Clashes erupted last Wednesday after Morsi supporters arrived at the presidential palace, where an opposition sit-in was staged  in protest against the draft constitution and a constitutional declaration that gave Morsi extra powers. The latter was replaced by a similar presidential decree few days later.

After using firearms against each other during the turmoil, both camps swapped accusations on responsibility for the ensuing violence.

After the bloody confrontations, a number of videos circulating on the internet showed civilians being tied up, physically abused and interrogated by bearded men in the vicinity of the presidential palace. One of the victims was a former Egyptian diplomat, Yehia Negm, who alleged during an interview with Al-Hayat TV channel that Brotherhood members tortured him for several hours.

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