A former BBC journalist has been deported from Egypt in what appears to be a reaction to her decision to air critical views of president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and his government on her talkshow.
Liliane Daoud, who hosts current affairs show Al-Soura Al-Kamila (The Full Picture), was detained by police at her home in Cairo on Monday and put on a plane to Beirut.
The British-Lebanese journalist took to Twitter to share news of her deportation and the termination of her contract with broadcaster ONTV, revealing she had her passport and phone taken from her.
She is now in Beirut with her family, but has been separated from her 11-year-old daughter.
In a series of nine tweets she said: “I am a British/ Lebanese journalist who has lived and worked in Egypt for five years. My contract with broadcaster ONTV was terminated yesterday, and at 5.45pm yesterday evening, eight policemen from the passport control authority arrived at my home.
“I was then taken from home and taken to the airport against my will. Had my British passport and telephone taken by force. At the airport I was told I would be deported from Egypt. I have an 11-year- old daughter, a British/Egyptian national, to whom I am the primary custodian.”
“I chose to travel to Beirut where I am now safe with family and I commit to fighting all legal and diplomatic avenues available to me to be able to return to Cairo as soon as possible, to be reunited with my daughter and be able to continue the life I have built for her there, close to her family and friends.”
She added: “I am proud of the work I have done and the opportunities I have had throughout my career, particularly the work I have done in Egypt and with ONTV. I thank everyone who has reached out and highlighted my situation for all their continued support.”
Ms Daoud’s lawyer, Zyad el-Elaimy, told Associated Press: “It’s the first time someone is deported in this fashion in Egypt.” He said the Egyptian authorities were “not prepared to hear any diverse voices or to hear anyone who is supportive” of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.
The BBC reported Al-Soura Al-Kamila’s editor-in-chief Amer Tamam as saying: “This is a campaign against respectable media and free journalism. All we were doing was presenting a respectable show… so we don’t know what we are being punished for.”
OnTV was sold last month by the billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris to Ahmed Abou Hashima, a steel magnate and Sisi supporter, according to the BBC.
In May, leaders of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate were charged with “harbouring fugitives” after a police raid resulted in the arrest of two of its members who worked for a website opposed to the government.