A French journalist working in Cairo was detained for 30 hours at the Cairo International Airport and was refused entry to the country despite holding a valid visa and press accreditation from Egyptian authorities, a group of French correspondents in Egypt said Wednesday.
According to the statement released by the journalists, Cairo-based French journalist Rémy Pigaglio, who works for the daily Catholic newspaper La Croix and the radio station RTL, was denied entry to Egypt upon his arrival from Paris on Tuesday.
La Croix noted that Egyptian authorities gave no explanation as to why Pigaglio was refused entry to the country.
“We express our total incomprehension of this arbitrary decision. We also express our full support to our colleague, who always has been professional in his work,” the French daily said on its official website.
La Croix also noted that Pigaglio’s passport and mobile phone were confiscated by police during his detention at the airport.
Pigaglio has been working as a correspondent in Egypt for the past two years.
La Croix said the French embassy in Cairo tried to help Pigaglio, but could not manage to persuade Egyptian authorities to allow him into the country.
“France regrets the decision taken by Egyptian authorities; France defends the Freedom of expression and journalism all over the world and the [French] president stated that publicly during his state visit to Egypt in April,” read an official statement released by French ministry of foreign affairs on Wednesday.
The French foreign ministry also revealed in its statement that Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry about the matter.
Foreign ministry officials declined to comment when contacted by Ahram Online.
Solidarity from French correspondents in Egypt
A group of French correspondents denounced in their statement the decision to refuse Pigaglio entry into Egypt, espressing their solidarity with the journalist and demanding that Egyptian authorities provide an explanation for their decision.
“While protected by the Egyptian Constitution and international conventions on human rights – to which Egypt is a party – press freedom is repeatedly trampled on, endangering the safety of journalists,” the statement read.
Pigaglio’s last report for La Croix covered the recent crisis between the Egyptian Journalists syndicate and the ministry of interior following the storming of the syndicate’s headquarters in early May.
Source: Ahram Online