LONDON (AP) – The British Broadcasting Corp. said Friday it has formally complained to the Egyptian interior minister that security forces failed to intervene to protect journalists from assault.
An attack on four journalists, including two from the BBC, occurred May 25 in Cairo, following a meeting of the General Assembly of the Journalists Syndicate, the corporation said.
Jerry Timmins, head of BBC services to the Middle East and Africa, called on Interior Minister Habib Al-Adly to investigate the incident and to give his assurance that the BBC can continue its work.
On Friday, an Egyptian police source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give statements to the media, denied that the journalists had been assaulted.
“The assault was made in full view of uniformed Egyptian security service officers who did not intervene,” the BBC said in a statement.
“In the unprovoked incident, a car containing four journalists, including BBC staff journalists Dina Samak and Denna Gameel, was deliberately blocked by a taxi. Five men in civilian clothes left the taxi and surrounded the car. They were joined immediately by at least another 10 attackers who were waiting in the street,” the statement said. “The attackers broke the front windscreen and a side window while verbally abusing the occupants. Two of the party were then dragged from the car and subjected to an assault,” the statement said.
The BBC said journalist Karim Al Shaer was badly beaten, and remains in police detention.
The journalists filed a complaint with the local police, and the Journalists Syndicate complained to the attorney general but there has been no response, the BBC said.