CBS reporter suffers 'brutal and sustained sexual assault' in Egypt

Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 00:00

CBS NEWS has announced that its chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan, was the victim of “a brutal and sustained sexual assault” during celebrations after the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11th.

In its statement, CBS said that Logan was interviewing members of the Egyptian opposition for 60 Minutes programme “when she and her team and their security were surrounded by . . . a mob of more than 200 people, whipped into frenzy.

“In the crush of the mob,” CBS continued, Logan “was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.”

Logan found the CBS team, returned to her hotel and took the first flight out on the morning of February 12th. She was released from hospital on Tuesday evening and is now recovering with her husband Josh Burkett, a defence contractor whom she met in Iraq, and their two children in their Washington home.

The attack lasted between 20 and 30 minutes and was “not a rape”, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting “a person familiar with the matter”. Logan (39) is originally from South Africa. She joined CBS in 2002 and has reported extensively with US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 52 journalists were attacked during the Egyptian uprising, and 76 were imprisoned. The Egyptian photographer Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud was shot dead on January 28th.

Logan and her crew had been arrested by Egyptian police on February 3rd and deported the following day. They were reportedly blindfolded, marched at gunpoint and accused of being spies. Before returning to Cairo, Logan told Charlie Rose of PBS that it was “in her blood” to be covering the story.

The National Press Club in Washington yesterday urged Egyptian authorities to “aggressively investigate and bring to justice the individuals responsible for the brutal attack on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan.” Nir Rosen, a writer on Iraq and international affairs, resigned yesterday from his post as a fellow at New York University’s Center on Law and Security, after posting offensive tweets about the attack on Logan.

“At a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger,” Rosen wrote.

He apologised, saying, “I know that in a matter of seconds with a thoughtless joke, I brought shame upon myself and my family and added insult to Ms Logan’s injury.”