"Control Room" director arrested in Egypt protest

Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:53pm EST

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LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Jehane Noujaim -- director of "Control Room," a 2004 documentary about Arabic-language news network Al Jazeera -- was arrested and later released after participating in a protest in Egypt, according to multiple reports on Twitter.

Noujaim was interviewing a military officer when the arrest took place and was accused of being a spy for Israel and a traitor, according to U.K. newspaper the Guardian.

"In solidarity with Jihane Noujaim," wrote journalist Mona Eltahawy, who was also arrested in the protest. "Friends please kick up huge fuss to relesase (sic) her."

"Egypt should be celebrating int'l stars like Jehane Noujaim, not arresting them," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on his Twitter feed. "But glad she's OK."

Noujaim and others were reportedly charged with congregation and destruction of public property. She was freed after the Committee to Protect Journalists, an international advocacy group, appealed to Egyptian authorities to let her go.

The popular uprising, dubbed "Last-Chance Friday," took place in Cairo's Tahrir Square, which has been a hotbed for protests all year. The protest was intended to galvanize support for a civilian government after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

Born in Washington, D.C., Noujaim was raised in Cairo and Kuwait. Her previous works include "Mokattam," an Arabic film about garbage-collecting in the Egyptian capital; and "Startup.com," a documentary that followed the rise and fall of a start-up company during the dot-com boom.

In 2008, Noujaim created Pangea Day, an event during which individuals in cities including Cairo participated in a drum circle that was intended to represent unity across the world. She funded the event with money she won after receiving the TED Prize, granted to people trying to change the world.

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