The Cairo office of Turkish news agency Anadolu, was raided by Egyptian police on Tuesday, January 14, on allegations of spreading false news and operating without a license. Authorities arrested four individuals during the raid, according to a report by the agency.
Police stormed the Turkish state-run outlet at around 6:00 pm and arrested Hilmi Balcı, Turkish national and the office’s administrator, and Hussein al-Qabbani and Hussein al-Abbas – both journalists and Egyptian nationals. They are being held in an undisclosed location, the agency reported.
A fourth person was also detained, although it is not known if the individual is also a journalist.
The non-profit Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release the arrested journalists.
“Journalists operating in Egypt should not have to work in fear that they will be used to settle political scores between countries,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa coordinator, Sherif Mansour.
“Authorities must immediately release the Anadolu News Agency staffers arrested yesterday, and stop using false news charges to harass and silence the media,” he added.
Officers examined documents, computers, and phones in the office until early in the morning, according to that report. CPJ emailed the Egyptian Prosecutor General’s Office and State Information Service, which oversee the police and foreign media accreditations, respectively, but did not receive a response from either office. (Source: CPJ)