Egyptian police release AP cameraman on bail
CAIRO (AP) — A freelance Egyptian TV cameraman who was detained while covering the country’s constitutional referendum for The Associated Press was released on bail Friday, but the case remains open, authorities said.
Hassan Abdullah Hassan was producing live video coverage of the final day of voting Wednesday outside a polling station in Cairo when police seized him along with his driver, Mohammed Salah Mohammed. Mohammed was freed Thursday.
Hassan said he was detained after police saw his footage being broadcast live on Al-Jazeera Television’s Egyptian affiliate and wrongly concluded that he was an Al-Jazeera employee. Authorities here have been highly critical of Al-Jazeera’s Arabic-language local affiliate, alleging it is biased against the government.
AP video footage is made available to client broadcasters and other AP customers all over the world.
“We are pleased that Mr. Hassan has been released on bail, and we hope that any remaining legal questions can be resolved quickly,” said John Daniszewski, AP senior managing editor for international news.
Several journalists have been detained in recent months as part of a broader crackdown on what authorities say is biased coverage favoring ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Among them were three journalists jailed in December in Cairo while working for Al-Jazeera, arrests that have drawn criticism from numerous international journalist and news organizations.
This week’s referendum was part of the country’s political roadmap toward new elections for a president. It was also seen as a test of public opinion on the removal of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power last July by the military in a popularly backed coup.