Journalist who survived checkpoint shooting detained
Courtesy: Reuters

A journalist who was shot by security forces at an army checkpoint during curfew hours was ordered to be detained for four days.

Hamed al-Barbary, bureau chief of state-run Al-Gomhurriya in Beheira, was shot while the car he was in was passing by a military checkpoint late Monday night, resulting in the death of Tamer Abdel Raouf, the bureau chief of Al-Ahram in the governorate.

The Damanhour prosecution ordered his detention for four days pending investigation of police accusations that he fired shots at the checkpoint with a locally made pistol found in Abdel Raouf’s car, according to the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

The shooting happened as the two were on the way back from interviewing the Beheira governor at the Damanhour Cultural Complex, according to the state news outlet the Middle East News Agency.

It is believed that the two were accidentally shot by security forces when it appeared as though they were fleeing the checkpoint during curfew hours. Journalists are exempt from the curfew, which is in place from 7 pm to 6 am in several governorates across the country.

For its part, the Armed Forces sent its condolences to journalists in a statement on the military spokesman’s official Facebook page, and clarified its side of events.

A private car broke the curfew at a checkpoint by the south entrance of Damanhour and moved at high speed without heeding repeated calls to stop, causing suspicion among security forces, the statement read.

Since they did not stop to be identified nor heed warning shots fired into the air, security at the checkpoint “dealt with the car directly” which resulted in Abdel Raouf being shot dead, the statement said. The car spun out of control and crashed into a lamppost, which resulted in Barbary’s injuries.

“There was no excessive use of gunfire at the car or intention to kill those inside, evidenced by [Barbary’s] minor injuries,” the statement added.  

The Armed Forces also called on citizens to adhere by the curfew hours to allow security forces to differentiate between “honorable” citizens and criminals.

In a YouTube video, Barbary recounted what happened from his hospital bed.

After the interview they conducted at 5 pm with the governor, which took more than one and a half hours, Abdel Raouf was driving three other journalists home, Barbary said.

As he was driving with Barbary, having dropped the others journalists off, they encountered a checkpoint and were signaled to turn around, without having a chance to tell security forces that they were journalists. They turned the way they came and were surprised to find gunfire being shot at the car.

Abdel Raouf was hit and was unable to stop the car due to a wound in his head. He lost control of the car and it kept going as he bled out, until they hit a lamppost near the Beheira traffic authority.

The Journalists’ Syndicate board ordered a swift investigation into the matter and called on security forces and the authorities to ensure the safety of journalists during curfew hours.