Egypt arrests reporter after protest coverage – employer

Egyptian police have arrested a journalist who had been covering a crackdown in the aftermath of small-scale protests near the southern city of Luxor, her employer and lawyer said.

Basma Mostafa was brought before prosecutors on Sunday, October 4, after she had gone missing the day before while reporting on unrest in the village of Al-Awamya.

She had been arrested while reporting on the alleged killing of a man by police during the demonstrations, according to her employer, the Al-Manassa news website.

"The prosecution ordered that she remains in jail for 15 days pending an investigation over charges of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news," her lawyer Hala Doma wrote on Facebook late Sunday.

Dozens of Egyptians took to the streets in several villages across the Egypt in September, according to videos shared widely on social media, especially by sympathizers of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The demonstrations coincided with mounting anger, particularly in rural and low-income areas, over sweeping government campaigns against illegal construction, which have forced people to pay fines to legalize home ownership.

They came after exiled businessman Mohamed Ali, who has emerged as a vocal critic of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi since last year, called for protests against the government.

On Friday, London-based rights group Amnesty International said Egypt had arrested hundreds of people, and that security forces had killed at least two during the demonstrations.

Sisi on Sunday warned against attempts to stoke instability in the country, and said the government was carrying out the campaign against illegal construction as part of reforms.

Egypt has increasingly targeted journalists in an ongoing crackdown on dissent since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The clampdown has swept up thousands of Islamist supporters of the late Morsi as well as secular activists, lawyers and academics.

Egypt ranks 166th out of 180 countries in media watchdog Reporters Without Borders' 2020 world press freedom index. – Rappler.com