CBS News correspondent Lara Logan is recovering in an American hospital this week after being sexually assaulted and beaten by a mob in Egypt's Tahrir Square late on Friday.
The same day that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, Logan was surveying the mood of anti-Mubarak protesters for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team "were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration," CBS said in a statement Tuesday. The network said that a group of 200 people were then "whipped into a frenzy," pulling Logan away from her crew and attacking her until a group of women and Egyptian soldiers intervened.
Logan flew back to the United States the next morning.
During her time in Egypt, Logan had been outspoken about the Mubarak regime's efforts to intimidate foreign journalists. "We're being prevented from telling this story," Logan said during a recent CBS broadcast. "People are increasingly afraid to talk to us." Earlier this month, she was detained, accused of being an Israeli spy, and told to leave Egypt. She returned to the U.S. after her release, but came back to Cairo not long before Mubarak fled his office.
Logan has a long history of working in areas of turmoil. She made her name as a war correspondent for Britain's GMTV at the beginning of the Afghanistan war in 2001 and later reported on the war in Iraq. She joined CBS News in 2002.
Judith Matloff, a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism who has written about sexual assault on female journalists, praised CBS and Logan for going public. "It's a pretty brave thing to come out and say that you've been sexually assaulted," she said. "Generally, female correspondents do not come out and talk about it because they worry that they won't get sent on assignments again."
According to the Committee to Protect Foreign Journalists, a watchdog group in which Logan serves as a board member, at least 140 reporters have been injured or killed while covering the protests in Egypt since Jan. 30. "We have seen Lara's compassion at work while helping journalists who have faced brutal aggression while doing their jobs," said CPJ Chairman Paul Steiger in a statement. "She is a brilliant, courageous and committed reporter. Our thoughts are with Lara as she recovers."
CBS said it would have no further comment on Logan's assault.