CAIRO, July 16 (Reuters) - An Egyptian journalist jailed while covering protests in Sudan returned to Cairo on Monday aboard President Mohamed Mursi’s official jet after Egypt’s new head of state raised her case with his Sudanese counterpart.
Shaimaa Adel’s detention in Sudan has received wide attention in Egyptian media and triggered online campaigns for her release. Mursi discussed her case with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at the African Union summit on Sunday.
In comments that could help Mursi’s popularity and strengthen his image as a man of the people, Adel thanked him and described the Muslim Brotherhood politician as a fatherly figure.
Talking to the satellite station Al Jazeera Misr, she added that Mursi insisted she fly home with him and they had had breakfast together. Some of Mursi’s critics have accused him of exploiting the case for political gain, saying her release was already scheduled.
Bashir had promised Mursi she would be freed, the official Sudanese news agency reported, quoting the Sudanese foreign minister. Mursi’s official page on Facebook said the decision to release her had followed the meeting, though some blogs had previously reported she would be released.
Adel, 25, was detained on July 3 after covering student protests in Khartoum. Sudanese officials accused her of having worked as journalist without proper accreditation and having links to activists.
She was the second Egyptian journalist in Sudan to get detained and expelled after Bloomberg’s Salma El Wardany. The authorities had also alleged she had ties to activists.
Writing by Tom Perry/Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich