IRISH CITIZEN RUSS Finn is being held by police in Egypt, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed to TheJournal.ie this evening.
The TV producer has been held since Tuesday, when he was arrested along with two colleagues who were working for Al-Jazeera‘s English language channel, according to an executive for the Qatari broadcaster.
Along with Finn, Correspondent Wayne Haye, from New Zealand; and South African cameraman Adil Bradlow are being held on unclear charges, an executive for the broadcaster told AFP.
They were freelancing for the channel in Cairo when they were arrested. Police have also seized equipment belonging to the station’s Egypt affiliate.
The detained men do not appear to have had press accreditation at a time when authorities have made it increasingly difficult for visiting journalists to obtain permits.
Consular assistance is being provided to Finn, the Department spokesperson said this evening.
Al-Jazeera has called on Egypt to release the trio:
Al-Jazeera calls for the Egyptian authorities to release all our staff unconditionally along with their belongings and equipment.
These arrests are part of what Reporters Without Borders has called “growing hostility” towards journalists in Egypt.
The statement adds that “there has also been a campaign against Al-Jazeera, in particular, as the channel’s offices were raided last month and security forces seized equipment which has yet to be returned.”
Egyptian authorities and media have accused Al-Jazeera of biased reporting on the popularly backed coup that toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3 and on its bloody aftermath.
The government has leveled similar accusations against other foreign media.
- Additional reporting, AFP