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Egypt deports French journalist amid crackdown

Egypt has expelled a French journalist who had been working as a correspondent in Cairo since 2014. The government has not explained the decision, which comes amid a media crackdown by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Journalists protest in Cairo

Egyptian journalists protest against the May arrests of their fellow reporters in Cairo

Remy Pigaglio, who works for Catholic daily "La Croix," said he was stopped at Cairo's international airport after returning from a holiday in France and detained in a cell for 30 hours. He was later deported.

"I wasn't treated badly," Pigaglio said. "I was not interrogated, and I never knew, and still do not know, why this decision was made to ban me from entering the territory."

The reporter told his newspaper that authorities confiscated his passport and prevented him from speaking with embassy officials for several hours.

Pigaglio had a residency work permit and was accredited by the Egyptian Ministry of Information, "La Croix" reported. A security source at Cairo airport told Reuters news agency the journalist had been deported because a security agency reported that he had taken "actions that harm Egypt and threaten its security."

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had discussed the matter with Egypt, and that it "deeply regrets" the decision to deport the journalist.

Media freedom concerns

French journalists working in Cairo on Wednesday released a statement condemning what they said was "the growing repression (surveillance, intimidation, deportation and detention) exerted by the authorities on Egyptian and foreign media alike."

Journalists in Egypt have been regularly detained, jailed and prosecuted under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Mohammed Morsi in a coup in 2013. In a recent case, the Interior Ministry earlier this month raided the offices of the press union in Cairo and arrested two journalists.

Egypt was ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index, according to press freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.

nm/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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