Top US senator denounces Egypt media attacks

By:  American Foreign Press

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A top US Senator warned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday that "thuggery" against media covering bloody turmoil in his country will not delay the "inevitable" end of his decades of rule.

"For Egypt's future, and for President Mubarak's own good, the attacks on protestors and the assaults on and detention of journalists must end immediately," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy.

Leahy, a Democrat who chairs the subcommittee that decides foreign aid, blasted the attacks as "the desperate and futile recourse of an autocratic regime under siege" amid unprecedented street protests against Mubarak.

"There is much in the Mubarak era to his credit, including three decades of Egypt's peace with its neighbors. I hope President Mubarak will realize that this violence threatens to blot his legacy and that it will not prevent an early end of his rule, which now seems inevitable," said Leahy.

Correspondents, photographers and cameramen reporting on the fierce clashes that took place in Cairo's central Tahrir Square said Mubarak supporters had turned on them on Wednesday and Thursday.

US officials, foreign leaders and rights activists have also denounced the attacks and harassment and one French media executive accused Egyptian state television of inciting "lynching."

"The thuggery that is being waged against Egyptian protesters and working journalists is deeply disturbing and deserves the world's condemnation," Leahy said in a statement