Middle East

Egypt deports Liliane Daoud, British-Lebanese talkshow host

Promotional image for OnTV's Al-Soura Al-Kamila showing Liliane Daoud (14 May 2016) Image copyright ONtv Official Instagram
Image caption Liliane Daoud was deported shortly after announcing the termination of her contract with OnTV

Egyptian authorities have deported a popular British-Lebanese television talkshow host, Liliane Daoud.

Ms Daoud, a former BBC journalist, was detained by plainclothes policemen at her home in Cairo on Monday and put on a plane to Beirut.

The move came hours after her contract was terminated by privately-owned OnTV.

Her show, Al-Soura Al-Kamila (The Full Picture), controversially aired views critical of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and his government.

Mr Sisi has cracked down on dissent since leading the military's overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

'Campaign against free journalism'

Ms Daoud's 10-year-old daughter, an Egyptian national, was at their home when her mother was led away by police. Officers reportedly confiscated Ms Daoud's mobile phone and British passport.

There was no formal explanation for Ms Daoud's deportation, but a security official told the Associated Press (AP) that her residency permit had expired.

Shortly before her arrest, Ms Daoud had written on Twitter: "I am announcing the official termination of my contract with OnTV after five years that began in 2011."

Ms Daoud's lawyer, Zyad el-Elaimy, said her first comment after landing in Beirut was that she would challenge the decision.

"It's the first time someone is deported in this fashion in Egypt," Mr Elaimy told AP by telephone from Cairo.

The Egyptian authorities, he added, were "not prepared to hear any diverse voices or to hear anyone who is supportive" of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Egypt's journalists' union has accused the authorities of declaring war on media freedom

"This is a campaign against respectable media and free journalism," said Al-Soura Al-Kamila's editor-in-chief, Amer Tamam.

"All we were doing was presenting a respectable show... so we don't know what we are being punished for."

OnTV was sold last month by the billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris to Ahmed Abou Hashima, a steel magnate and Sisi supporter.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served briefly as interim vice-president after Morsi was ousted, praised Ms Daoud for her "professionalism, credibility and courage".

"One day we may have enough self-confidence to understand the value of having different opinions," he wrote on Twitter.

Satirist Bassem Youssef, whose TV show was taken off air for its criticism of the government, said her arrest was "just the beginning".

"Egypt... can't tolerate the rest of the world,'' he wrote on Facebook.

In May, the head of the Egyptian journalists' union and two other top members were recently charged with harbouring fugitives following a police raid of the union's headquarters that saw two journalists for an opposition website arrested.

Also on Monday, the prominent feminist activist Mozn Hassan was banned from travelling to Beirut for a meeting of women human rights defenders.

Nazra for Feminist Studies, which Ms Hassan founded, said she was barred due to her alleged involvement in a case in which non-governmental organisations have been accused of receiving foreign funds with the aim of sowing chaos.

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