Former Times journalist Bel Trew has been appointed as The Independent’s new Middle East and North Africa correspondent, to be based in Jerusalem and report across the region.
Trew was Middle East and North Africa reporter for The Times since the 2011 Arab Spring, covering conflicts from Libya to Syria.
She had been based in Cairo, Egypt but was forced to flee after seven years when she was arrested over an interview and threatened with military trial if she did not leave the country, she said in a tweet in March.
Independent editor Christian Broughton said: “Anyone who knows Bel’s reporting from Cairo – and who has read the dispatches and watched the video – will immediately understand why we are so excited that she is joining our already distinguished team.
“The Middle East and, in particular, the conflicts in Iraq have played a formative role in the evolution of The Independent and in the deeply engaged relationship we have with our readers
“Now there are new stories to be told, and shifting dynamics that continue to be of huge interest to an increasingly international readership.”
Trew’s appointment comes as Broughton has worked to rebuild the Independent’s international team since the title turned digital-only in 2016, describing it as a “dream project”.
He added: “Trew joins an already brilliant team of reporters working in the region with Robert Fisk and Bethan McKernan in Beirut, plus Patrick Cockburn and Kim Sengupta.”
Recent newsroom additions at the Independent include Adam Withnall, who moved to Delhi in May as Asia Editor, and Oliver Carroll, who has recently joined as Moscow Correspondent.
Jon Stone is also the website’s Europe Correspondent, covering developments from Brussels.
There are now a dozen editorial roles in the US providing news from New York, Washington and San Francisco. The title has said its US readership is roughly equal in size to that of the UK.
Broughton said that since the Independent’s first issue in 1986 the title had “distinguished itself in hard-hitting and humanitarian reporting from the most challenging locations”. It opposed the Iraq War, which a spokesperson said had been a “defining point” in the title’s history.
Trew has worked for The Times and The Sunday Times, BBC TV & Radio, France 24, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, New Statesman, Huffington Post, RTE and Tatler, among others.
She was a finalist in the One World Media awards in 2017 following her investigations into the charity refugee rescue boats in the Mediterranean, the battle against Isis in Libya and Egypt’s infamous prisons.