Egypt arrests journalist after report on smuggling case
Egyptian authorities have arrested journalist Karim Asaad after his fact-checking service had published articles accusing officials of involvement in smuggling cash, weapons and gold to Zambia, the publication said Sunday.
Asaad was apprehended at his home in Greater Cairo early Saturday following questioning over coverage of the case, said a statement from independent website Matsada2sh.
His arrest brings the number of journalists behind bars in the Arab world’s most populous nation to 24, according to Egypt’s national press union.
“Our colleague, journalist Karim Asaad… was arrested after security forces dressed in civilian clothes stormed his home” at 1:00 am on Saturday (2200 GMT on Friday), said Matsada2sh.
“They physically assaulted his wife, threatened their young child, raided the apartment, and then led him away, forcefully disappeared, to an undisclosed location.”
The syndicate of Egyptian journalists has called on authorities to “free” Asaad and to “disclose his current location”.
There was no immediate comment from the authorities.
According to the Matsada2sh statement, “before his arrest, the only questions the assailants asked our colleague were related to our breaking coverage of the Zambia-Egypt plane story”.
The southern African country’s Drug Enforcement Commission on Tuesday announced its officers had seized “a chartered aircraft carrying dangerous goods” at Lusaka airport.
The plane was carrying nearly $5.7 million as well as pistols, ammunition and 127 kilos (280 pounds) of “suspected gold”, according to the statement.
The Zambian authorities have arrested 10 suspects, nine of them foreigners, it said.
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