SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS:
Hi, Amy. Thank you for having us. Standing with me isAyman Mohyeldin. He’s the Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera. He was detained on Monday for several hours. He’s been here since July.Ayman, talk about what happened when you tried to enter Tahrir on Monday.
Well, as we have been for every morning throughout these protests,we’ve been making our way into Liberation Square in the morning, in the early hours. And onthat particular day, as I was entering, I was actually stopped by one of the military officers whowas there, and he asked for my identification. I presented him with my identification, particularlymy passport. When he asked me what it is that I do, I told him I was a foreign journalist, and Iwas coming here. And it seemed to be really enough for him, because he didn’t ask me any other questions. He simply took my belongings and handed me over to military police, which thenescorted me to a little holding area, where I was for several hours.And throughout the course of the day, I was immediately, when I arrived to that holding area,escorted by the military police. We had all of our belongings taken off of us. We werehandcuffed, our hands behind our back, and we were blindfolded. And we were essentially askedto sit on the ground on the pavement for about nine hours or so. And throughout the course of theday, we were interrogated a few times by different people. And ultimately, they had told us thatthey were going to transfer us to military intelligence, though I think had it not been really for the intervention of a lot of the online community and a lot of people who pressed the governmentfor the release of the two journalists that were there, myself and a cameraman, we would nothave been released as quickly as we were, in nine hours.It was a long day, but certainly there have been journalists, including the Al Jazeera Arabic bureau chief, who was detained overnight, and he, too, went through a similar process and wasnot released for quite some time, actually.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS:
Now, Ayman, we’ve see a crackdown on journalists, andespecially on Al Jazeera. I remember on Wednesday when the
attacked the protestersin Tahrir. One of them asked me if I had seen any Al Jazeera journalists. He drew a finger acrosshis throat. A lot were cursing Al Jazeera. Why has this channel come under particular attack bythe Mubarak regime?
Well, I think, you know, when you look at the relationship that theEgyptian government, particularly the Mubarak regime, has had with Al Jazeera, it is definitelyone that they have been disappointed with our coverage. I think they felt that our coverage has been, in some ways, inflammatory, and they have accused us of all kinds of incitement, really. Nothing could be really further from the truth in terms of our reporting, because on many of thedays that the government was the most upset with us, most of our coverage was essentially justlive reporting from either outside our window, showing the world what was happening. We’vededicated a lot of resources across the country in places where other reporters weren’t, such as