Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Thu93 2020

Last update18:06 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Activites
Freed Egyptian protester describes ordeal, but fate of seized blogger is unknown
Freed Egyptian protester describes ordeal, but fate of seized blogger is unknown
For more than four straight days, Philip Rizk said, he was blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated around the clock by Egyptian state security agents who abducted him on Friday after he took part in a march in support of Gaza.
Thursday, February 12,2009 07:23
by Michael Slackman IHT

For more than four straight days, Philip Rizk said, he was blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated around the clock by Egyptian state security agents who abducted him on Friday after he took part in a march in support of Gaza.

Early Wednesday morning, with neither warning nor explanation, he was driven home and dropped off, without having been charged.

"They said I was a liar, that I was not telling them the truth, threatening me that I would be punished in certain ways unless I gave them the whole story," Rizk said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

His arrest and the government"s refusal to provide any information while he was in custody provoked a tremendous international response. The German government and legions of former and current classmates and professors rushed to the defense of Rizk, a dual Egyptian-German citizen who studied at Wheaton College in Illinois and is a graduate student at American University in Cairo.

His family also started a Facebook group to raise awareness of his case, and within days, more than 6,000 people around the world joined.

The Egyptian government has not explained Rizk"s arrest or his release, so it is impossible to know if his background helped.

But two hours away from Rizk"s leafy upscale neighborhood in Cairo, Amaal Abdel Fattah Taha was red in the face, sobbing in fear, terrified that her son, Diaa Eddin Gad, had been killed by the state. Gad, 23, a high school dropout and blogger, was arrested Friday, too, when four police officers grabbed him as he stepped outside the door of his family"s apartment.

Like Rizk, he was taken away after he participated in public demonstrations in support of Gaza — and in opposition to Egypt"s policies toward Gaza. And as in Rizk"s case, the government has not said where he is being held, or why, or when he may come home.

"You think they killed him? Why are they hiding him? Did they kill him?" his mother cried inside their run-down, cramped two-room apartment in a village just north of Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta region.

The Egyptian government has grown increasingly intolerant of those who criticize its policies regarding Gaza. Egypt has insisted that it is Israel"s responsibility to provide for Gaza. But because of the recent war and the humanitarian crisis there, many Egyptians have called on their government to open its one border with Gaza, at Rafah. The government has refused, except to let some medical supplies pass through.

To silence the critics, the government has turned to its internal security forces, whose ranks are twice as large as those in the nation"s military, and to an emergency law decades old that allows the police to detain anyone, effectively without charge and without explanation.

Rizk was arrested after he took part with 14 others in a peaceful six-mile walk in support of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Gad was arrested after he took part in a peaceful demonstration in Cairo organized by the Wafd Party, a largely powerless, secular liberal political party.

But he is also known as the man behind an Arabic-language blog, soutgadeb.blogspot.com — "An Angry Voice." He describes himself on the blog as an Egyptian citizen who loves his country. He goes on to mock President Hosni Mubarak as a "Zionist agent." At one point, he refers to the president as Ehud Mubarak, a play on the name of Israel"s defense minister, Ehud Barak.

Insulting the president is punishable by a year in prison.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, which oversees all internal security matters, said: "The related bodies are examining his case, and if there is nothing they will let him go. It is a regular procedure."

All that Gad and Rizk share is a conviction that Egypt is not doing enough to help Palestinians in Gaza — and the fact that they were arrested for it.

Gad lives with his mother, his father and two sisters. He shares a bare bedroom with his sisters, Noura, 24, and Iman, 15. His father, Abdel Samea, 61, is a retired utility worker with a limp from a stroke and a pension that amounts to about $200 a month. His mother, Amaal, 48, has never worked. There is one common room in the apartment, a box of a space crowded with chairs, a table and Gad"s window to the world, a desk with a Samsung computer and a modem.

Around the same time that Rizk was in the middle of his six-mile march, Gad was seated at his computer working on his blog. His mother had just laid out lunch and his older sister was behind him studying for medical school. His phone rang, he walked outside, so as not to disturb his sister, and was jumped by four officers.

"He was screaming, "Mama, Mama, help me," " Taha said, struggling to keep her composure. But the memory was too painful.

The Wafd Party alerted the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, which assigned lawyers to try to help the family. But lawyers there said they feared that this case could take much longer to resolve than Rizk"s, partly because the government often showed greater deference to foreigners and dual citizens.

"They are trying to silence the voices that criticize the government"s performance and send a message by assaulting and kidnapping to say that criticism will not be tolerated," said Gamal Eid, executive director of the network.

While nothing is known, yet, of Gad"s experience, on Wednesday Rizk began to describe his ordeal. He said he was repeatedly interrogated. The police, aggressive and threatening, were searching for something to charge him with, he said.

They accused him alternately of being a spy for Israel and of running arms for Hamas, two incompatible roles. Rizk, who turns 27 on Thursday, said he was never beaten or physically abused. By Wednesday evening, he said he wanted to redirect public attention from his case to Gaza and to others, like Gad.

"I was held for four days, but the people of Gaza continue to be held in a form of prison, and there are others in Egypt who are also being held," he said. "I want to move the attention to others who are still in this situation."

Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting.

Posted in Activites , Human Rights , Palestine , Other Blogs  
Related Articles
Phillip Rizk...Blogger Behind Bars for Gaza
Blogger Adel Threatens with Strike on Bad Detention Conditions
Egyptian Bloggers and Journalists in the Hot Seat
Egypt Police Arrest Three Participants in Gaza Relief Convoy, Including Blogger
Missing Blogger Detained by Interior Ministry Decision
Communication Accuses Interior Ministry Of Kidnapping Blogger Mohamed Adel
Egypt: one blogger disappeared and another still in custody despite court order
Protest Against Blogger’s Disappearance, Extending Detention of Another
Blogger Disappears in Mysterious Circumstances
Fayyoum Prosecution Decides To Release Blogger Khairi
Blogger Mohamed Khairi To Be Referred Tomorrow
Blogger Mohamed Khairi Arrested for the Second Time
Blogger Mamdouh El Monayyar Released After Seven- Month Detention
Bloggers bucking the Brotherhood in Egypt
Faiyum Bloggers Violated At The Prison
Blogger Abdul Tawwab Abducted From Faiyum
ANHRI: Egyptian Internet Bloggers Vulnerable To Arrest & Persecution
An Egyptian woman blogger has received an international prize
Bloggers and the Brotherhood
Moroccan Appeals Court Acquits Blogger Mohamed Al Rajhi
Sit-in For Releasing Blogger Before Prosecutor General Office
In One Session, Without Defense or Lawyers The Sentence of the Moroccan Blogger, Mohamed Elrraji...
Egypt bloggers take on U.S. elections
The Prosecution of the First Moroccan Blogger
April 6 Youth Protests to Have a Blogger Released
Family of MB Blogger Demands His Release
Police Assaults A Woman In A Rally Against Blogger Detention
Petition For Prosecutor General To Release Blogger Refaat
The State Security Arrest a Blogger under the State of Emergency Law
Egyptian blogger Mohamed Refaat is released
MP Al-Husseini: Gov’t Still Detains Al-Monayar, MB Blogger
Egypt’s bloggers and labor activists make common cause
New Arrest Warrant against MB Blogger Al-Monayer
EGYPT: Blogger, interpreter tortured by SSI
Port Said Police Arrests the Blogger Tamer Mabrouk
SSP Renews Detention of MB Blogger, Disregards Court Decision
Egyptian Bloggers Condemn "Egyptian Stances" Campaign
The Other Arab Bloggers
Arab Bloggers Keep Watch Over Government – And Each Other
Anti—NDP bloggers call the MB to deal differently with the regime