Egypt ignores BBC attack complaint

The Egyptian government has, at the time of going to press, failed to respond to a formal complaint made last Friday by the BBC after two of its staff were assaulted by members of the Egyptian security services in Cairo.

Jerry Timmins, head of the BBC services to the Middle East and Africa, said in a letter to the Egyptian Interior Minister Habib Al-Adly: "I have been concerned at the level of hostility some of our journalists have encountered."

According to the BBC, the assault was made in full view of uniformed Egyptian service officers who did nothing to stop the attacks.

The journalists were attacked after reporting on a meeting of the General Assembly of the Journalists' Syndicate in the Egyptian capital.

Dina Samak and Dina Gameel, who had been covering the event for the BBC Arabic Service, were traveling in a car with two other journalists when a taxi blocked their vehicle.

Five men in civilian clothing reportedly got out of the taxi and surrounded

the car while a further 10 attackers waited in the street. According to the NUJ, the attackers broke the car's windows, dragged two of the journalists from the car and beat them.

One of the journalists was seriously assaulted, but was taken away in a police car and is still in detention.

The journalists tried to file a complaint, but police refused to register their allegations.

The NUJ held a demonstration outside Bush House in support of the two BBC producers who are also members of the union.

The union said: "Journalists in Egypt are now targeted not because of their political views, but because of the very fact that they are journalists."

In November last year a uniformed member of the security services assaulted the BBC's Mohamed Taha outside a poll station during the 2005 elections.

Samak's husband, who is also a journalist, was arrested more than a month ago and is still held without charge.


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