Amsterdam, Holland - Tuesday Feb. 4 ~ Dutch Reporter Escapes From Egypt
Rena Netjes and twenty other reporters being accused by militant Egyptian government of spreading false information and being terrorists.
Rena Netjas Cairo news correspondent, had to flee from Egypt after learning she was one of the 20 journalists accused of "lies" and "terrorism".
Netjes is a top reporter and Cairo's correspondent to Holland's Parool newspaper as well as BNR radio. She is among four foreign and 16 Egyptian journalists being accused by the Egyptian military of "fabricating news" and supposedly being involved in some "terrorist plot" and for allegedly working for the Arabic TV netowork, Al Jazeera (from Doha, Qatar).
This case is part of a "Crackdown on Free Expression" in Egypt, according to Human Rights campaigners.
Netjes was not initially thought to be involved in the case because her name was misspelt on the charge-sheet, and particularly because she has never worked for al-Jazeera, under any name.
Once she knew of these charges Netjes went into hiding for several days. After Dutch officials intervened, she was allowed to escape out of Cairo, Egypt yesterday (Monday Feb. 3).
Netjes sent an email to the Guardian before flying to the Netherlands, and described the accusations as "unbelievably crazy", and credited the Dutch embassy in Cairo with "saving my life".
Netjes said it was likely she had come under suspicion because she visited Al Jazeera's Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy at the Marriott a few days before he was arrested, for an interview about the insurgency in Sinai.
Two British defendants – Dominic Kane and Sue Turton – Also accused of being
Al Jazeerah reporters, already left Egypt before charges were made Wednesday
Others Accused - Not So Fortunate
Australian former BBC correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, and local producer Baher Mohamed have been in prison since a police raid on their rooms at Cairo's Marriott hotel in late December.
Al-Jazeera reporter Abdullah al-Shami was jailed in August after being arrested at a protest, and is currently on a hunger strike.
In a separate case, freelance broadcast journalist Hossam Meneai has claimed he was tortured while in jail on similar charges.
Al-Jazeera denies all such charges against its journalists.
"This case is part of a violent campaign against the freedom of expression and journalism that we have never witnessed before, except during the dying days of the Mubarak regime, from October to December 2010," Gamal Eid, a leading Egyptian rights lawyer, and head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, told the Guardian last week.
The government and its supporters say foreign media are distorting the situation in Egypt, which they argue is on the path to democracy.