From Reuters: “Dia was released (Friday) at dawn… He was ill-treated in the period where we did not know where he was being held,” said Gamal Eid, director of the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Eid said police beat Gad in the car immediately after detaining him and during his detention in State Security offices. Police beat and kicked him, threatened to electrocute him, and electrocuted others in front of him, according to Eid.”
From Global Voices: Two bloggers were separately tortured in Egyptian State Security headquarters. One of them is now released, while the other has been receiving treatment in prison. /—/
Dia’ el Din Gad was arrested on 6 February , he is the runner of a blog called Sout Ghadeb (Angry Voice) where he used to write his views criticizing the Egyptian policy regarding Gaza. He also referred to President Hosni Mubarak as “Ehud Mubarak” – in a reference to Israeli Minister of Defence Ehud Barak.
Amnesty International who considers Gad a prisoner of conscience, mentioned in a recent statement that:
“During interrogation, SSI officers repeatedly threatened to torture and otherwise ill-treat him, and other detainees were apparently brought in front of him and tortured with electric shocks. He was kept constantly blindfolded and heard screams of people who, it appeared, were being tortured.
Dia’ el Din Gad was not beaten but verbally abused and told he would never be released. He was given no access to medical attention, despite a pre-existing condition which affects his breathing and for which he takes painkillers and other medication.”
From ANHRI: “The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said the state security prosecution decided today [8 February] to release blogger Mohammed Adel nicknamed dead ” http://43arb.info/meit “after passing 110 days between kidnap, arrest and accusations at the hands of the state security in the case number 1414 for year 2008 with the Supreme State Security Court.
Mohammed Adel was kidnapped in 30 Nov 2008 from downtown on the hands of the state security and was arrested in an unknown place for a month before ANHRI knew he was at the headquarters of the state security in Madinat Nasr then he was arrested for another month. He was charged with following a banned group “the Muslim Brotherhood”
Hoda Nasrallah, a lawyer with the legal aid unit in ANHRI, said in spite of the release decision, we will go on with the case against the minister of interior. The minister along with his aids kidnapped Adel and detained him in an illegal place. We will sue them until they learn to respect the law.
A statement from Human Rights Watch: Egyptian authorities should immediately charge or free Diaa Eddin Gad, a blogger held since February 6, 2009, Human Rights Watch said today. Gad is among a number of bloggers and activists arrested in relation to protest in Egypt since the beginning of the Gaza offensive in late December 2008. Apparently it’s not enough for the Egyptian government to imprison its own critics,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “It is now intent on silencing Egyptians who criticize Israel as well…
The Egyptian authorities have had little tolerance for any form of criticism over its stance on Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The government also has been under a great deal of international pressure to control the smuggling trade through the tunnels at Rafah. It has cooperated with Israel’s 20-month-long closure of Gaza by keeping its Rafah crossing closed for most of that time.
With the disproportionate powers granted to them under an emergency law, the SSI have arrested a number of bloggers and activists who have been critical of the war in Gaza and the closing of the Egyptian border with Gaza, among other things.
The Muslim Brotherhood, technically a banned organization, organized the largest of the street demonstrations, especially those outside of Cairo, in Alexandria and Tanta. Muslim Brotherhood representatives told Human Rights Watch that 711 of their members arrested since the start of the Gaza conflict remain imprisoned.
Public protests are illegal under the Egyptian emergency law. But a blanket ban on demonstrations is incompatible with Egypt’s obligations to respect the right to freedom of expression and assembly under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
From Egypt and Beyond: “Ghad party activist Hossam Shatata was released three days ago, el-Badeel reports, after spending 15 days in the state security headquarters in Nasr City. He told el-Badeel that he was blindfolded most of the time and fearing for his life. He was accused by interrogators of being a member of a terrorist organization, and hit by one of his guards once after starting a hunger strike. Shahata was detained by state security on 11 February outside the public prosecutors office.”
From Daily News Egypt: “Egyptian NGO the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has launched a stinging attack on the public prosecution office for what it describes as its “contribution” to the detention of a blogger who disappeared 19 days ago. In the statement ANHRI says that it is “extremely disappointed” by the public prosecution office’s “tarrying” in holding to account the state security investigations officers alleged to have kidnapped 23-year-old Diaa Eddin Gad.” Read more.
From Amnesty International: “A student blogger critical of Egypt’s policy towards the Gaza Strip is believed to have been held incommunicado in the custody of State Security Investigations (SSI) services and at risk of torture since his arrest on 6 February. The Egyptian authorities have still not disclosed the whereabouts of 23-year-old Dia’ el Din Gad, despite his family’s and lawyers’ inquiries to the Ministry of the Interior and the office of the Public Prosecutor. The blogger had been denouncing President Mubarak and the Egyptian authorities’ attitude to the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. “Dia’ el Din Gad has simply disappeared since his arrest two weeks ago, causing terrible anxiety to his mother and raising growing fears of torture and enforced disappearance” said Amnesty International.”
Also see the Urgent Appeal for Action.
Hossam Shahata, a member of liberal opposition party Al-Ghad, disappeared in Cairo on the 11 February and is believed to have been detained for Gaza-related activism.
Daily News Egypt reports: “According to independent daily El-Badeel, Shehata disappeared on Feb. 11, 2009. He had apparently gone to the public prosecution office to report attempts by state security investigations forces to arrest him, and reportedly sent a text message to newspapers including El-Badeel which read, “state security officers are looking for me right now and have set up an ambush outside my house in order to arrest me. They asked my family and neighbors about me who rang me on the telephone and told me not to go home.”
When Shehata’s friends went to the public prosecution office to join him, he had disappeared but his car was still parked outside the office. Writing on his blog (anos.maktoobblog.com) Ahmed Abdel Naby says that Shehata had driven activists to the Rafah Crossing in his car during the Israeli attack on Gaza. Among these activists were Douma and Gad.”
And from Egypt and Beyond: “A lawyer from the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and a member of al-Ghad both confirm that Hossam Shahata did visit Rafah – but without crossing the border to Gaza. Hossam Shahata and Diaa Gad also held a protest outside the public prosecutors office demanding the release of Magdy Hussein, almost three weeks ago – according to a jaiku sent by Gad at that time. So the disappearance of Gad and Shahata is very likely to be connected.”
Amnesty International har published an urgent appeal on the behalf of detained blogger Diaa el-Din Gad, saying that “Dia’ el Din Gad’s mother described to Amnesty International how he frequently suffers panic attacks which make it difficult for him to breathe. He also has difficulty walking or bending one of his legs, due to injuries suffered in childhood. He takes painkillers and other medication, which he did not have with him when he was arrested.”
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Arabic or your own language:
– urging the Egyptian authorities to disclose Dia’ el Din Gad’ whereabouts immediately, and give him access to lawyers of his choice, his family and any medical attention he may require.
– urging the authorities to ensure that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated;
– urging the authorities to release Dia’ el Din Gadimmediately and unconditionally, unless he is promptly charged with a recognizably criminal offence, as he appears to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association.
Minster of Interior
Minister Habib Ibrahim El Adly
Ministry of the Interior
25 Al-Sheikh Rihan Street, Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +20 22 796 0682
Salutation: Dear Minister
Counsellor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud
Dar al-Qadha al-‘Ali
Ramses Street, Cairo, EGYPT
Fax: +20 22 577 4716
Salutation: Dear Counsellor
Director of Human Rights and International Humanitarian and Social Affairs
Wael Abu al-Magd
Human Rights and International Humanitarian and Social Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Fax: +20 22 574 9713
and to diplomatic representatives of Egypt accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 1 April 2009.
On Tuesday 10 February, activist Ahmed Abou Doma was handed a one-year prison term in a military tribunal for crossing into Gaza and allegedly “joining one of Hamas’ military wings.” Iqbal Tamimi reports: “The Egyptian blogger was arrested … upon his return from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. The Egyptian authorities accused him of infiltrating across the eastern border illegally in violation of the presidential decree 298 of 1995. /—/ The Federation of The Arab bloggers demanded from the Egyptian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, claiming that the blogger Ahmed Domah did not commit a criminal act, on the contrary, he went to Gaza to offer his support to Gaza people.”