CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Wednesday that Egyptian authorities have dropped legal proceedings against an Australian journalist who had been unable to leave since February because of allegations of fomenting unrest.
Carr said in a statement that the Australian Embassy in Cairo has been advised that the matter against Austin Mackell has been dropped, and that his passport and belongings will be returned.
Carr’s office could not say what would happen to two people arrested with Mackell: American student Derek Ludovici and Egyptian translator Aliya Alwi. But Mackell tweeted that charges had also been dropped against both colleagues.
“The more it sinks in, the better it feels,” he tweeted from Egypt.
Mackell, Ludovici and Alwi were arrested as part of an Egyptian crackdown on Western-funded pro-democracy groups on charges of fomenting discontent on the first anniversary of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. Egyptian police said witnesses alleged that the three had tried to bribe people to join a strike aimed at pressuring military rulers to transfer power to civilian rule.
They were released from custody within days but remained under investigation and could not leave Egypt.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.