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Al-Masry Al-Youm journalist Abu Deraa to face military trial

Egyptian journalist Ahmed Abu Deraa will stand trial before a military court on charges of spreading false news on military operations in Sinai

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Sep 2013
Abu Deraa
Sinai-based reporter Ahmed Abu Deraa (Photo: Ahmed Abu Deraa Facebook page)

The military prosecution ordered Wednesday that Egyptian journalist Ahmed Abu Deraa stand trial before a military court Sunday, reported the privately-owned news website Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The prosecution accused Abu Deraa of deliberately publishing false news and rumours that contradicted statements by the armed forces on operations against militants in North Sinai. He is also accused of photographing the Suez Canal and other sites that civilians are prohibited from photographing, in addition to trespassing on military lands without a permit.

Abu Deraa is an award-winning journalist who has reported for leading private daily Al-Masry Al-Youm as well as private satellite channel OnTV.

He was referred to military prosecution last Thursday and given 15 days in detention pending investigations into charges of broadcasting false information about the military, communicating with "terrorist groups" in Sinai, filming military property and provoking the armed forces.

Protests were held in Cairo on Saturday and Monday to demand the release of Abu Deraa.

The Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate issued a statement shortly after Abu Deraa's detention, calling on the military to release information on the reasons for his arrest, and to facilitate the job of journalists. The syndicate also called for journalists to be exempt from military trial.

Reporters without Borders (RWB), an international watchdog on press freedoms, has demanded the "immediate and unconditional release" of Abu Deraa.

According to an RWB statement published Friday, Abu Deraa's arrest came the day after Al-Masry Al-Youm published articles that exposed "violations" committed by the armed forces against civilians in Sinai, including the reported shelling of the village of Al-Moqataa, in which four civilians were injured.

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