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Egypt to try 48 for killing journalist, two civilians

April 4, 2015

Egypt on Saturday referred to trial 48 suspects accused of shooting dead a journalist, a boy and a Christian woman during clashes last year between Islamist protesters and police.

Mayada Ashraf, who worked for privately owned Al-Dustour newspaper, was shot in the head while she was covering clashes in Cairo’s northern Ein Shams neighbourhood on March 28 last year.

A Coptic Christian woman and a 13 year-old boy were also killed in the unrest.

The state prosecutor ordered the trial of 48 people in connection with the deaths of Ashraf and the two other civilians.

A statement said they were all members of the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood of ex-president Mohamed Morsi who was ousted from power in July 2013 by the army.

The defendants, 35 of who are behind bars while 13 are on the run, face several charges, including premeditated murder and membership in “an armed wing of the terrorist Brotherhood aimed at targeting media personnel,” the statement added.

No date has yet been set for the start of the trial.

Ashraf is among 10 Egyptian journalists killed in Egypt since the 2011 uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak, according to New York-based Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ).

Six journalists died in 2013 itself prompting CPJ to classify Egypt as the third most dangerous country for journalists that year after Syria and Iraq.

The army’s ouster of Morsi, who had succeeded Mubarak, sparked widespread clashes between his supporters and security forces prompting a deadly government crackdown against his Islamist backers.

The Brotherhood itself has been blacklisted as a “terrorist group”.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.