Swiss journalists return home safely

The four Swiss journalists arrested in Cairo while covering anti-government protests have returned home safely.

This content was published on February 5, 2011 - 16:50 and agencies

Shaken but unharmed, the three reporters and one photographer arrived at Zurich airport on Friday night, reported the Swiss News Agency on Saturday.

"Everything changed after the speech by President Mubarak on Tuesday
night," said Sid Ahmed Hammouche, a special correspondent for the Fribourg-based newspaper La Liberté, and Patrick Vallélian of the Lausanne-based magazine L 'Hebdo.

"The regime has found scapegoats in foreigners, especially foreign journalists," they said.
The journalists said that starting on Wednesday, they had witnessed police paying thugs to beat and frighten young people on Tahrir square.

Hammouche said there had been a huge increase in violence against the press, adding that he had seen horrible things happen.
Arrested Thursday at a roadblock, the Swiss journalists were detained by the army for four hours with a group of 30 people. They were told that they would be shot if they tried to get away.

After their release at dusk, they were assaulted seven times at various checkpoints before eventually making it to the airport.

The Egyptian government has accused media outlets of being sympathetic to the demands of protesters calling for the immediate resignation of President Mubarak.

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