Detained New Zealand Journalist Freed

New Zealand journalist Wayne Hay has been released by the Egyptian authorities after he, and three other journalists, were detained for five days. The Telegraph reports that the former TVNZ journalist, along with cameraman Adil Bradlow, and producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohammed, were arrested on Tuesday while covering events in Cairo for Al Jazzera.

Hay told Newstalk ZB, following his release, that the group could have been treated a lot worse. “We were living in some pretty terrible conditions but it could have been worse.”

“They kept us separate from all the other prisoners – they let us stay in our own cell, and they were pretty regular at getting us tea and coffee.”

Hay said he and the crew were freed after telling the prosecutor’s office they had done nothing wrong and paid bail.

The most frightening time was when they arrived at the police station, not knowing where they were, Hay said.

“Some abuse started to be directed towards our Egyptian producer.”

“They didn’t speak much English and we didn’t speak much Arabic,” he said. “So they were directing their abuse at him … calling him a traitor, criticising his family and things like that, which was tough for him because he was bearing the brunt of all this – he was the one with a gun put to his head.”

Hay said he and the crew were freed after telling the prosecutor’s office they had done nothing wrong and paid bail.

A number of other Al Jazeera journalists are still being held in Egypt, while its offices in the country have been raided and equipment has been seized amid a “camaign against the network,” Al Jazeera says.

Hay has reported for Al Jazeera since 2006 and in Egypt for less than a year.

In June, Hay posted on his Facebook page that he was finishing with al Jazeera in two months and he would most likely be heading home to New Zealand.

On his Twitter profile last week he said he was “helping out” in Egypt for a few weeks before heading to the beach in Bali.

On Friday he posted “all quiet in Egypt following the ‘Friday of Martyrs’. Curfew has begun.”

Tags: Al Jazeera  Daily Telegraph (The)  Egypt  NewstalkZB  Wayne Hays  

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