Egypt Raids Christian Broadcaster; Director Detained

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

downloadCAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)-- Christian broadcaster SAT-7, which airs in the Middle East and North Africa, has urged for prayers after Egyptian authorities confiscated crucial equipment during a raid on its studios in Cairo and a local director was detained.

"Unite with us in prayer so that we can complete our ministry - one based on love and which aims to serve our beloved country [Egypt]," said Office Director Farid Samir who was reportedly detained for six hours but then released.

Samir faces four charges relating to operating a satellite TV channel without the necessary licences following the October 10 raid, Christians said.

SAT-7 has denied wrongdoing saying its Egypt office is a program production facility and not a satellite broadcast center for any of the SAT-7 channels.

A court hearing was held last week and prosecutors were to decide on whether to continue their case within the coming days, BosNewsLife learned.

'FACTUAL ERRORS'

Lawyers said the authorities report contained factual errors claimed to have evidence confirming SAT-7's registration and licences.

SAT-7 said its activities have been severely disrupted as cameras and computers used for editing have been confiscated by officers of Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology's Censorship Department.

Pressure on SAT-7 comes amid international concern over the plight of minority Christians in Egypt, who comprise roughly 10 percent of Egypt's over 80-million people.

The raid came ahead of parliamentary elections which began Sunday, October 18.

Analysts say that in absence of opposition parties, the result is a foregone conclusion, though a low turnout suggested that the strongman president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was losing popularity.

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