Dr. Saad Elewa reveals the truth behind the “International Network of the Muslim Brotherhood”
|Tuesday, December 1,2009 13:35|
Dr. Mohamed Saad Elewa, Head of Urology department in Bolaq el-Dakrour Hospital was one of the defendants in case No. 404-Supreme State Security, renown in the media as the case of the “international network”. He was formerly referred to the military tribunal in the famous MB case in1995 where he was unjustly sentenced to three years in prison, and tried again in the Military Court case and was acquitted by the Court after spending 13 months in prison, he was then re-arrested in March 2005 during the period of the amendment of Article 76 of the Constitution and remained in detention for three months.
Before his recent arrest in March 13, 2009, he was among the group who was arrested with Dr. Mohamed Ghozlan and was released after received heart surgery. Nevertheless an arrest order was issued and he was re-arrested with Dr. Osama Nasr's group, a member of the Executive Bureau, in 14 May 2009 where he recently released a few days ago.
Ikhwanweb ran an exclusive interview with Dr. Elewa to describe the details of six months of detention, revealing details of the fabrications made by Security Services.
Firstly, you have a record of arrests since the Military Tribunal in 1995 and again on May 14, 2009 a sudden arrest. How does this arrest differ from other ones?
At the outset I ask Allah the Almighty to accept the time I spent in prison and to reward me for it. I would endure everything for the sake of Paradise.
As for sudden arrests, each time I was arrested was sudden. I was never arrested in a meeting or while doing a particular activity for the MB, each time they would come to my house at night during my sleep. It became a habit of the Security Services while dealing with me.
I am from the Muslim Brotherhood group and this is a great honour, however the new and different thing in this arrest was that the accusations were neither compatible with the role, nor with nature of the person.
Back to the night of 15 May when the State Security Forces raided your house and arrested you. What happened that night, especially since the State Security had allowed you to travel for Umrah where you were supposed to travel three days after.
On 14 May I returned home at 2:30 am and I hadn’t slept yet, where I was to be surprised by a heavy and unusual way of knocking on the door; however I predicted who they would be since this is their usual barbaric way.
Their behaviour disturbed our neighbours as well as our children, especially as this was exam time for students. We were surprised by the State Security Forces and other men with them and I had no option but to let them in.
They began a thorough search everywhere in the house for an hour and a half and asked also to search my car and the two clinics!!
At first, I felt the investigation was totally inaccurate as the officer who claimed to have a search warrant asked to search my two clinics when I only have one clinic.
So I asked to see the warrant and told him “this clinic is what I do for a living. It has a good reputation and it’s a famous clinic and my wife also works with me in the same clinic as she is a Gynaecologist, so how could you search the clinic at this time? What would my patients and neighbours say when they find a searching force in my clinic at 2am? What would people think?
Then I surprised him by answering "By the way, I only have one clinic not two" but he insisted that I had two clinics, I replied "If your warrant is for two clinics then I have the keys of only one clinic, the other one you go search for it yourself. I’m not coming with you”.
I left the other clinic five years ago and cancelled its documents five years ago. The son of the owner of the building currently lives in it is no longer a clinic. Moreover the other clinic he was mentioning is three kilometres away from the State Security Headquarters, which proves that all his inspections are “false and fabricated” based on no grounds because if he had done any inspections he would have known that I have left the other clinic a long time ago and if his inspections were true, the secret agents would have acknowledged that it is not a clinic anymore and is a resident.
The State security agent asserted that he would not go to the clinic unless I was with him and Security Forces would not come close to the clinic in any way, and as the MB have nothing to hide I let him go, we went down and he searched the car and did not find anything interesting, then we went to the clinic and remained there for nearly an hour and he did not find anything there either.
What was he looking for?
He was looking for any documents that might be useful for the "fabricated" investigations in the case of the “international network of the Muslim Brotherhood”.
I received a call the next morning from the State Security officer to conclude procedures regarding my travelling with my wife to perform Umrah and he assured me that security authorities would never hinder my travelling as he received the permission from them where he added “have a safe journey”.
Unfortunately I thought well of him, and it turned out he was trying to know whether I was in Cairo or not.
On the day of my arrest I told my wife “we, God willing, will be rewarded for this and those who prevented us will receive Allah's wrath”.
Following the arrest you found yourself with Dr. Osama Nasr, a member of the Guidance Bureau, and others where you were accused of a number of charges including being on the public affairs team for the MB Chairman, to which extent is this true?
Unfortunately, those who wrote the investigation reports did not bother to examine the nature of the people listed on the case, that in addition to being accused of belonging to the international network of Muslim brotherhood as well as being the media arm who seeked to establish a satellite channel!, But the nature of these people did not include any media figures except of Mr. Walid Shalabi whose profession includes working in the media for a living.
My sorrow and grief increased when I found the regime and security agencies resorting to lies in the investigation memorandum, which is not based on any facts, as they knew this very well while writing it. If they really wanted to arrest a group of people they should have made their investigation memorandums more professional!
The officer listed a set of charges, then arrested the Muslim Brothers and I was surprised that neither accusations could be directed to these people, neither the "international network of MB", nor the case of the "media arm!"
The International Network
What about the charge of being involved in the "international network"?
In any normal circumstances, once accusing someone of something, there should be evidence available, followed by appeals against these charges and the denying of it. However, the charges we were accused of in this case only included evidences of denials to the speech which was totally unrealistic.
It is also assumed also that any Prosecution or Investigation body should not give permission to its officers except after examining the truth of what they say and should not act according to speech only. I do not exempt the Prosecution from playing a role in this as I wonder how it gave an arrest warrant to the investigating officer based on investigations it believes that it is not based on any evidence.
I do not exonerate the prosecution of having a role in this, how to allow it to give permission set officer of a memorandum of investigation is that they are not based upon any evidence.
The charge of the "international network" claims that we are in contact with the institutions and organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world and this is a ridiculous charge, especially since the regime itself has banned me from travelling since 1990 and I cannot leave Egypt and the only two times I went abroad were to perform Hajj and Umrah where I received permission by the State Security after long persuasion. Here a question rises, how could I be responsible for following up the Muslim Brotherhood abroad as provided in the investigations report when I was banned from travelling? The case is wholly fabricated and faked from the outset.
It is strange and ridiculous thing in the case is that the memo provided that we are responsible for the Brotherhood and its institutions in the whole world except Australia! This makes me wonder why we wouldn’t follow up the MB work in Australia. Would the regime allow me to travel there to work? Even if it was for the MB institution there as they claim?
The repeated charges included the hindering of the work of the state’s institutions which is untrue especially as I work in a governmental hospital in the urology department!
How could they accuse me of such a charge when everyone knows of my work and other doctors of MB and they elect us for our honesty and they believe in us? I have been elected for three terms as the Head of Doctors’ Treasury Board of Directors which is registered in the Egyptian Insurance Agency where the funds of the Treasury were more over 50 million Egyptian pounds.
How could these characteristics of these people who are much loved and respected by people match the accusations of working on hindering the work of the state’s institutions when I am heading these institutions, serving and preserving it?
But we all know that the whole matter is determined by the state security officer who has a wide imagination and prepare an investigations report that is not based on facts. It is supposed that those who stand before the Prosecution should have material evidence against them but we only had this memo of the State Security officer against us as well as being in detention for four months without having any fair investigation except the one which ended in the first session, in the first half hour in particularly.
It was also annoying that we were accused of money laundering and the financing of the group with funds collected from terrorist crimes, these are new and serious charges which I cannot accept.
Here the question arises, why does the State Security Officer charge us, according to the Investigation’s memorandum, of money laundering, knowing that it should be the work of the Central Accountability Agency as it is the only body that should be running these investigations and then charges come from the Criminal Investigation Department.
The charge was in the text of "money laundering collected from terrorist acts", and here I asked a question to the officer on what these terrorist acts are? However, he did not answer me. This emphasized that the whole memorandum was fake and false.
This also made me tell the Prosecutor, in these exact words, that “you should not discuss such memorandum with me as I was expecting you, to drop it from the first glance since it is a comprehensive memorandum based on no facts”.
Moreover, which laundered money did they find with me? They searched for over an hour and a half in my house and clinic and only found the money used for the house which was approximately 2,000 L.E as they fabricated charges that are not applicable to the detainees.
Being detained for more than six months on big charges, how were investigations conducted?
Which charges are you talking about and which investigations do you mean? Investigations and the charges, and of course its denial, happens during the first hours of investigations in the first meeting with the Head of the Prosecution and during the rest of the six months nothing new happens. We even knew the details and everything new the news covered made us anxious.
Over the past six months or more we used to go to the Prosecution and the Prosecutor asks me: “Do you have anything else to add?” and I answer “No” and he renews my detention, as if the 15 days of detention was an ordinary routine, told by the Prosecutor, as I once told him that custody detention became a punishment and a legal reason for our arrest, knowing that the Prosecutor orders the renewal because he is awaiting the results of the criminal investigations or the forensic results with regards to the belongings in custody, however none of this happened with us at all, and the custody detention became a punishment by the State Security Prosecution.
The regime wants to get rid of some opponents, so instead of arresting them it transfers them to the State Security Prosecution which carries out the custody detention as a punishment for those opponents, but if the custody detention continues even for one day after finishing the investigations then it is a punishment and a breach of law and what happened with me for six months is a type of punishment by the State Security Prosecution.
On 31.8.2009 the Cairo Criminal Court had given its first release order for us and we were out on 01.09.2009, but not to our houses. Instead we were sent to the State Security Headquarters where they kept us there for days and then re-arrested once again.
Illness at the start
After 10 days of your detention you were transferred to al-Kasr al-Aini Hospital After suffering a heart attack. How did they treat you, especially that you had a bad experience last year’s detention?
I thank God for everything, I had many heart attacks starting from 27.06.2006 and I went to the intensive care to have some tests run and the results revealed a failure in some of the coronary arteries and since then I take regular medication. Before this health problem I made some tests on my abdomen on 06.06.2006 and discovered many other health problems.
The first heart attack was on 03.06.2007 and continued for half an hour at 2am . during this time I was detained with Dr. Mahmoud Ghozlan member of the Guidance Bureau, and I was transferred to the intensive care in al_Kasr el-Aini Hospital and two days after doctors decided to undertake the catheter operation for me urgently as they found that it was the reason behind a blockage in the front artery and another in the back artery which caused the main problem. Following this a release order on health grounds was issued.
The health problem happened to me again in2008 and since then have been on regular medication, however the heart attacks happen from time to time and the last one was 10 days after my arrest and I was transferred to al- Kasr el-Aini hospital and until the release order I was having regular checkups where I used to go the hospital every two weeks to have some tests run.
El-Mahkoom Prison is one of the prisons known for its bad reputation. How did you spend these six months with criminals?
This is the first time I have been detained in el-Mahkoom prison, all the other times were in the Farm of Tora Prison, the prison which is full of politicians and the Muslim Brothers and some businessmen detained in bank and loans cases.
El-Mahkoom prison is a bad prison from many aspects, that officers only deal with criminals and they are unable to differentiate or treat politicians differently. El-Mahkoom is not a detention for us alone but for our families too since we spend the time of visits with criminals which made me prevent my children from coming to visit me during this period and they only visited me twice or three times maximum.
Here I raised a question to my brothers on what is the message the regime wants us to understand? Does it fight crimes by keeping us amongst criminals or it wants to increase and spread the crime by mixing our children with criminals during the visiting times. The political detainee should have his own place during visits and this didn’t happen.
When we say the prison is bad, we do not say that because criminals are bad! In fact many of them are victims of this regime and society, as the state should treat them in a better way to correct their paths and we did that with them, we mixed and dealt with them as humans, we met them in the mosque, sat with them and had discussions with them and answered their questions about religion.
In addition to this we have made medical checkups to many of them and tried as much as we could to alleviate their pain in this unhealthy environment.
What is your impression of criminal detainees in the prison?
In fact there is a situation that happened, not with one of the criminal detainees but with one of the young detainees of Al-Jihad and the Islamic Group, which I would like to narrate. When the State Security were transferring me from the prison to al-Kasr el-Aini Hospital I had a discussion with one of them and I asked him why he wasn’t involved in the recent ideological reviews. But I was shocked by his answer when he said “What about you Muslim Brothers when you do not advocate violence yet you are with us in prisons?”.
This means that the regime by arresting us is trying to send many messages through many channels, as if it is “killing many birds with one stone”.
Back to the case of the International Network of the MB, as you were the first ones arrested where others were included to the case. How do you see this case?
Our observation of the case was through the media campaign which was run by a number of journalists in the governmental newspapers or those which claim they are freelancers for the newspapers of the regime and the security system. Those who sold their conscience and did not respect the honour of their professions.
At first, newspapers published the full name of “Mohamed Saad Elewa” and did not only name the charges but it added to this that the Prosecution confirmed the validity of these charges and that he is involved in money laundering and acts of terrorism.
Unfortunately, I sent a response, pursuant to the right of reply, but it was not published.
If we were upset that a state security officer had "fabricated" the investigation, we are deeply sorry to see a journalist selling his profession and giving away the honour of his profession for which he had given an oath.
Back to the details of the case. We knew all of it from the media. We would wake up to find daily campaigns defaming us and saying things that never happened. I knew the extent of the clear lies and fabrications in this case when I see a journalist writing things about me that never happened.
Despite all the media hype, we were expecting aftershocks. We expected a huge case, especially after some newspapers wrote in the exact text that “the case will be transferred to the Military or State Security Emergencies” within hours during which tens of MB members were getting included in the case .
However, we could not be sure about anything because the case should be going in a direction and according to it we can predict and take the necessary decision, but we are in a state that lacks any system and in a case that is fabricated.
The best evidence that the case was unpredictable is that we were released after our first presence before Cairo Criminal Court and we had four other release orders but only the fifth order was implemented.
Security over jurisdiction
Should I understand from your speech that the regime does not respect the judiciary and the case is political and had nothing to do with any crimes and there were no real charges?
Yes, you would find in any developed country that there are grounds and a system on which people, government and judiciary operate according to it, but in Egypt the regime does not respect the law, Constitution or any other grounds as we have obtained five judicial rulings acquitting us without implementation.
This makes one wonder about the powers and authorities a state security officer has against the decision of a Chancellor and a judge whose decision should be enforced once passed and I asked the State Security officer and the Head of the Prosecution this question during the last prosecution before our release and told him “How would the Egyptian regime look like when I, my children and the whole society see that I had release orders which weren't implemented? Isn't it better to dismiss them?"
Strength and determination
You were arrested for more than six months during which you left your wife, three daughters and one son. How did your detention affect them?
Since day one in prison I depended on Allah and left my children in His protection. During my detention two of my daughters were having exams and my youngest daughter “Alaa” high school with very high grades and my other daughter “Somaya” came top in the Public Relation’s section in the Faculty of information and second place in the whole academic year.
This is not the first time I get out of prison and find my family in a better condition. Each time I get released I find them achieving more becoming more devout followers of Islam. They are positively affected by my detention thank God, and I have asked Allah to make them share the same rewards with me.
Finally, what message would you like to give after six months of detention?
I would like to give two messages. The first to the ruling system and Security Services whatever happens to the Muslim Brotherhood is not in the interest of Egypt in any way. I’m not saying that in defence of the MB as the State Security officers know very well the extent of popularity that the Muslim Brothers have in Egypt and they are 100% sure of their patriotism and their sincerity regarding the reform of this country.
I also would like to ask them about the reason of treating the Muslim Brotherhood in this way? And why do they deal with the moderate Islamists in this way? What is the message they want to deliver through the imposition of pressure and arrest of the MB?
The second message I would like to direct is to my brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood and tell them that these hardships only increases our strength and determination making us continue in our path we must believe in this correct understanding of Islam.