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Egypt's foreign ministry says Mada Masr raid was done in accordance with the law

Ahram Online , Wednesday 27 Nov 2019
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Egypt's foreign minister has said that the raid on the office of news website Mada Masr on Sunday was carried out in accordance with the law.

"[Mada Masr's] office was operating without the necessary authorisation," Egypt's foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said, adding that "there were no detainees and the procedures did not go beyond inspection, interrogation and investigation."

The spokesman affirmed that "no restrictions are imposed on freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt unless it involves direct incitement against the state's institutions or infringement of the constitution and the law."

Hafez added that only the judiciary has the authority judge such matters, stressing that all the defendants are afforded the rights and guarantees necessary to defend themselves.

He also called on the media to report on the case with accuracy and obtain information from official sources.

On Sunday, Mada Masr said plainclothes security forces raided the website's office in Cairo, arresting three staff members including editor-in-chief Lina Attalah, and seizing their phones and laptops. They were all released later in the day.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Egypt to respect freedom of the press.

"We call on the Egyptian government to respect freedom of the press and release journalists detained during a raid last weekend," he added.  

On Monday, Germany's foreign ministry spokesperson reacted to the Mada Masr raid, affirming that independent journalism plays a key role in facilitating the exchange of ideas and developing societies and stability.

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