Egypt frees Australian journalist

Aug. 29, 2012 at 10:34 AM

CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- An Australian journalist barred from leaving Egypt since February will have his passport and personal equipment returned, an Australian official said.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the Egyptian government has decided to drop charges against journalist Austin Mackell, the Egypt Independent reported.

"This is great news for Austin and his family in Australia," Carr said.

Mackell, a freelance reporter, was arrested Feb. 11 and accused of paying workers in Mahalla to stage protests against Egyptian authorities.

He was released from detention the following day but barred from leaving the country.

Mackell told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that during his detention he could hear people being tortured in surrounding cells.

At one point, he said a police officer showed him footage on a mobile phone of the army torturing someone.

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