Egypt arrests journalist said to work for Al Jazeera


Egyptian security forces have arrested a man who worked for Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network and accused him of inciting and taking part in violence, the state news agency MENA said on Wednesday.

An Al Jazeera spokesman could not confirm whether the man arrested in Suez worked for the Doha-based channel, whose support for the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed President Mohamed Mursi has strained relations between Egypt and Qatar.

Three Al Jazeera journalists are already on trial in Egypt charged with aiding a “terrorist group”, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. They deny the charges.

MENA named the man as Abdel Rahman Shaheen and described him as a Muslim Brotherhood member. It said he had also worked for the Islamist movement’s now closed TV station and newspaper.

The prosecutor’s office had issued nine warrants for Shaheen’s arrest on charges of “inciting and taking part in acts of violence in Suez, attacking the security forces and army in Suez, and inciting people to carry out acts of sabotage in the Suez province by distributing funds to them”, the agency said.

Qatar, which backed Mursi during his one year in office, has continued to support the Muslim Brotherhood since the army removed him from power last July following mass protests against his rule, plunging Egyptian-Qatari ties into crisis.

The Egyptian interior minister last month accused a Palestinian Al Jazeera employee of involvement in a plot to leak state secrets during Mursi’s year in office. Mursi is standing trial in the case that could result in the death penalty.

The trial of the three Al Jazeera journalists resumes on Thursday. The journalists standing trial are Peter Greste, an Australian, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian.

They have been in detention since December 29. Al Jazeera has said the accusations are absurd.