Belgian journalist held in Egypt freed: newspaper

4th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's leading French-language daily Le Soir on Thursday said one of its journalists had been freed along with three French reporters detained in Cairo.

Serge Dumont and three reporters from the France 24 TV network were free and safe, the paper said.

"We have just spoken to Serge Dumont by telephone. He is in a hotel with three colleagues from France 24. They are free, safe, but hungry," Le Soir's foreign editor Philippe Regnier told AFP.

On Wednesday, Dumont had called Le Soir to say he had been accused by unidentified civilians of supporting Egyptian dissident Mohamed ElBaradei before being dragged to a barracks.

"It was aggressive, violent. I received several blows to the face. They claimed I was pro-ElBaradei. They took me to the military in one of the barracks at the outskirts of town," Dumont said.

"There they gave me a glass of water, from the Nile, they said, to give me diarrhoea. I'm being held by two soldiers with Kalashnikovs. They say they're going to take me to the secret service. They say I'm a spy."

Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere had called for Dumont's immediate release.

Among the growing list of journalists harassed or detained while covering events in Egypt are reporters working for the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, Polish Television TVP, France's BFM TV, Russia's Zvezda television, Greek daily Kathimerini and Turkey's state broadcaster TRT.

Dumont also covers the Middle East from Israel for Swiss paper Le Temps and French regional paper La Voix du Nord.

© 2011 AFP

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