Mayada Ashraf was killed while covering clashes, state-run news outlet reports
Committee to Protect Journalists calls for independent investigation
Clashes happened during protests of army chief's decision to run for president
A journalist was among three people killed Friday during clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Egyptian security forces in eastern Cairo, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said.
Mayada Ashraf was fatally shot, according to her employer, the private Egyptian newspaper Al-Dustour. She was covering the fighting when she was killed, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.
The clashes involved people who were protesting this week’s decision by Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to resign from the military and run for president, semiofficial news outlet Ahram Online reported. The demonstrators were supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader, Ahram Online said.
Ashraf was in her 20s and graduated from college last year, according to Al-Dustour. Definitive information on who shot her wasn’t immediately available.
A representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Egyptian government Friday to open an independent and impartial investigation into Ashraf’s death. The organization noted that opposing groups – those supporting the army, and those supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood – were blaming each other for the killing.
“A journalist’s death should not be used to settle political scores – the focus should be on journalists’ right to safely cover events in Egypt,” said Sherif Mansour, the CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.
Protests similar to that in eastern Cairo happened across the country on Friday, Ahram Online reported. El-Sisi’s decision is just one of the latest grievances expressed by Morsy supporters.
El-Sisi deposed Morsy last year following mass protests against Morsy’s rule. Morsy became Egypt’s first freely elected leader in 2012, a year after a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s three decades of one-man rule.
El-Sisi is popular among Egyptians who supported the army’s decision to remove Morsy from power a year into his term – seeing him as the kind of strong man needed to end the turmoil dogging Egypt since Mubarak’s 2011 ouster.
But El-Sisi is reviled by the Islamist opposition, which sees him as the mastermind of a coup against an elected leader and the author of a fierce crackdown on dissent.
Egypt has suffered bloody internal strife since Morsy was overthrown.
On Wednesday, police clashed with protesters at Cairo University who were demonstrating against a court’s decision to sentence 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death. In a separate report, Al-Ahram quoted the health ministry as saying one person was killed and eight injured in the clashes.
Monday’s court ruling drew widespread criticism from international human rights groups.