Egypt broadcasts tourists' 'confessions' to taking part in protests, as 1900 arrested

Egypt broadcasts tourists' 'confessions' to taking part in protests, as 1900 arrested
Egyptian state TV broadcast "confessions" from five foreign tourists swept up in the mass campaign of arrests following anti-corruption protests, as the number arrested soars into the thousands.
3 min read
26 September, 2019
Dutch tourist Pieter Bas 'confesses' to using his drone to take pictures [MBC Masr/YouTube]
Egyptian authorities have continued a sweeping campaign of arrests of people suspected to have taken part in anti-government protests on Friday and on Saturday, with the total number of those detained soaring to at least 1901, according to the latest count by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).

Among those caught up in the crackdown are several foreign tourists who the Egyptian authorities allege took part in or encouraged the protests by filming and photographing them.

State-affiliated television channel MBC Masr broadcast on Tuesday video "confessions" by seven of those arrested including Dutch, Turkish and Jordanian tourists.

Pieter Bas, from Amsterdam, is filmed confessing that he flew his drone from the rooftop of the hotel to take pictures of it but was stopped by a hotel employee and arrested later on by security forces.

MBC showed photos of his drone, laptops and cash laid out to be investigated. It also broadcast the drone's footage, which seemed to be aerial videos of Cairo not including any footage of the protests.

Jordanian tourists Thaer Hussam Fehmi Matar and Abdelrahman Ali Mohammad Hussein are also filmed separately saying they came to Cairo after watching Mohamed Ali's videos online.

They confessed to taking part in the protests, and "incitement against the state of Egypt", as well as taking videos and posting them on Facebook.

A Turkish tourist confessed to coming to Egypt to "see the revolution", while another took pictures of people in Tahrir Square claiming he was not aware of the security restrictions.

The programme, presented by TV personality Amr Adeeb who is widely regarded as a regime mouthpiece, also broadcast so-called confessions of a Palestinian man who claimed to sent over from Gaza by militant group Islamic Jihad to support the Muslim Brotherhood in the protests.

As part of its campaign to smear the protests as under the influence of Islamists, the Egyptian regime has accused many of those who took part as being part of the Muslim Brotherhood, which it has outlawed as a "terrorist group".

The broadcast also aired a confession by an alleged Egyptian member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who returned from his job Saudi Arabia for the demonstrations and donated $5,000 to people taking part in the protests.

Mohamed Ali, a former contractor for the Egyptian army, has released a slew of videos alleging mass corruption inside Sisi’s regime and has been credited with spearheading the rare outbreak of protests on the weekend.

In exile in Spain, he has called for a "million man" March on Friday.

Read more: Inside Sisi's plan to crush Egypt's 'Palacegate' protests against his rule

According to ECESR figures, almost half of those arrested have been forcibly disappeared as they have not yet been heard from.

The majority of those detained, approximately 977 people, have been investigated and are being held in remand, according to ECESR.

More than 300 detainees have appeared so far before the courts, all of them sentenced to 15 days in prison each to be interrogated regarding their participation in demonstrations.

Among the first to be charged on Tuesday was award-winning human rights lawyer Mahinour El-Massry, who was arrested on Sunday after attending an investigation of several of those arrested during the demonstrations.

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