No news of Belgian journalist held in Egypt: newspaper

3rd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's leading French-language daily Le Soir on Thursday said it still had no news on the fate of one of its journalists 24 hours after he was beaten up and detained in Cairo, apparently by security services.

"The fact that other journalists harassed or detained yesterday have since been released means we are all the more troubled over the uncertainty of Serge Dumont's fate," the paper's editor Jurek Kuczkiewicz said in a statement.

Le Soir said the last contact with him took place at 1330 GMT Wednesday when Belgium's ambassador to Egypt reached him by telephone.

Earlier Dumont had called Le Soir by cellphone 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."

Kuczkiewicz said the embassy had been unable to obtain any information on where or why he was being held.

Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere has 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, whose real name is Maurice Sarfatti, 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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