CAIRO – Egypt has ordered the release of two freelance journalists who were arrested while preparing a report on a historic tramway in Alexandria.
The defense lawyer for May al-Sabbagh and Ahmed Moustafa, arrested on Feb. 28, says prosecutors ordered their release on bail Thursday. Mohammed Hafez says they were charged with possession of visual and audio equipment with the intent to spread false news.
Egypt has regularly detained and prosecuted journalists as part of a broader crackdown since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president. The crackdown has escalated ahead of a March 26-28 election in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi faces no serious opposition.
Egypt's pro-government media routinely accuse independent and foreign journalists of portraying the country in a negative light and trying to undermine its stability.