Egypt: Arrested Activists and Bloggers Released in the Desert – Bloggers Roam the Desert

by Amira Al Hussaini, on Global Voices, March 26, 2007.

2 Exerpts: Egypt today released bloggers and other activists arrested in an anti-Mubarak rally in Cairo held the previous day in the desert, according to bloggers. Blogger and journalist Hossam El Hamalawy, who has been closely following the developments, writes:

  • - Police released the remaining Kefaya activists in custody today in the afternoon, after they spent their night in the Qattamiya desert, locked up in two prison trucks.
  • - There were two prison trucks; one containing eight detainees: Ahmad Droubi, Adham el-Safti, Omar Mustafa, Ahmad Samir, Khaled Mustafa, Sherif Ragab, Mohamed Abdel Qader, Kareem el-Sha’er.
  • - The other car, it turned out, had two activists only: Mohamed Gamal and Omar el-Hadi.
  • - The detainees, according to a phone interview with Droubi, were not allowed to leave the car, and were given food only once at 4am. They even had to urinate inside the prison truck in empty Koshari boxes and bottles, courtsey of Mubarak’s police.
  • - The prison trucks started cruising in the afternoon again, and dropped each detainee off in a different location out in the desert, starting from 2:40pm, according to lawyer Rajia Omran.


The arrests were made during demonstrations called for by the opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Kefaya, against proposed amendments to the constitution. A referendum on the changes which would help the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) exclude opposition Islamists from the political system was also held today. The referendum, which was marred by civil unrest and clashes with the police as seen in the photograph above, saw a low turn out because of calls by the opposition for people to boycott it …

… Is Censorship the Solution? In Egypt, many activists double as bloggers, in a bid to air their grievances about the authorities and the system. To reign in increasing dissent, Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad is hoping to block 21 blogs and websites which are deemed as harming Egypt’s national security, defaming Egypt’s image abroad, and insulting President Hosni Mubarak. “The Administrative Court will look into the lawsuit filed by Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad to block 21 blogs and websites, on Tuesday, 9am…PLEASE SHOW UP! THE EGYPTIAN BLOGOSPHERE NEEDS YOUR SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT,” pleads El Hamalawy. (full text).

links:

What Happened In Kifaya Demonstration: Detainee;

arabic link: Manal and Alaa’s bit bucket, free speech from the bletches;

Global Voices Homepage.

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