AP: Cameraman in Egypt released on bail

Story highlights

  • The AP says Egyptian police released freelance cameraman Hassan Abdullah Hassan on bail
  • Hassan was covering Egypt's constitutional referendum for the news agency
  • Hassan told AP the authorities "wrongly concluded that he was an Al Jazeera employee"

A freelance cameraman covering Egypt's constitutional referendum for The Associated Press has been released on bail, the news agency said Friday.

Hassan Abdullah Hassan was producing video coverage outside a Cairo polling station when police seized him along with his driver, according to an AP report.

His driver, Mohammed Salah Mohammed, was freed Thursday.

"We are pleased that Mr. Hassan has been released on bail, and we hope that any remaining legal questions can be resolved quickly," said John Daniszewski, AP's senior managing editor for international news.

"Hassan told AP by phone that he was arrested after police saw his footage being broadcast live on Al Jazeera Television's Egyptian affiliate and wrongly concluded that he was an Al Jazeera employee," the AP report said.

CNN first learned of Hassan's detention on Twitter after Cairo-based AP journalist Jon Gambrell tweeted the news.

Last month, Egyptian authorities detained four Al Jazeera employees.

They released cameraman Mohamed Fawzy on December 31. But Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed from Al Jazeera English remain detained.

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Authorities accused them of holding illegal meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was declared a terrorist group there last month.

Calling the arrests arbitrary, Al Jazeera has said the network "has been subject to harassment by Egyptian security forces," including having its equipment confiscated and offices raided, despite the network not being banned from working in Egypt.

Nearly 40 correspondents and editors representing 29 international media organizations sent a letter to Egyptian authorities on Monday, demanding the journalists' immediate release and accusing authorities of detaining them arbitrarily.

They also call for the release of other journalists who have been detained in Egypt, some of whom they say have been arbitrarily imprisoned for more than five months.

"The arrest of these journalists has cast a cloud over press and media freedom in Egypt," the letter reads.