Thursday, April 10, 2008

Second fatal victim in Mahalla and George Ishak arrested

Masry al youm reports this morning of a 20-year-old man who died of bullet shots to his brain and chest. He was taken to hospital on Sunday evening were he died last night after having recieved intensive care since his admition according to the doctor who treated him at the hospital.

Ahmed al Sayed Abdel Kader was a tailor and was closing his shop when the demonstrations started on Sunday and he was caught up in the riots. This is to my knowledge yet to be confirmed by the authorities.

Is the victim the same person as the 20-year old that has circulated around blogs together with a nine year old the last couple of days?

According to the same news story 2000 people participated in a demonstration in front of the police station, the demonstrators were demanding that the detained should be released, the bulk of the protesters were relatives of the arrested.

(Sloppy reporting by me - i happened to state that there were 2000 arrested earlier, when in fact 2000 people participated in the demonstration outside the Mahalla Police Station, demanding the release of the detained). There is a slight difference in meaning between the English translation of the al Masry al Youm piece and the Arabic original.

Many of those that took part in the demonstrations on April 6-7 as well as those arrested seem to be youngsters, judging from photos here and here and reports

George Ishaq arrested

In another related development George Ishaq, the former Co-ordinator of Kefaya, was arrested yesterday morning.

Hossam al Hamalawy(you´re doing a terrific job) has translated the original arabic HMLC statement:

George Ishaaq, leading Kefaya activist had just returned home in El Bostan street, Cairo after a long day of preparation for a Kefaya conference to reply to the allegation of the Egyptian government regarding the recent Mahalla demonstrations on the 6th and 7th of April, when state security officers broke into his house searching all his papers and books. Ishaaq was alone. They confiscated papers and books from his library and seemed especially interested in “The Butterfly’s Flutter” by political activist Ahmed Bahaa Shabaan, a book which describes the evolution, nature and future of the Kefaya movement. SSI also took Ishaaq’s mobile phone and prevented him from contacting anybody. After about an hour of search his wife arrived and found them all over her house. For a moment she thought she must be in the wrong place. Irritated by the heavy police presence in her house and their rude manners she asked them to leave the house. They refused. When they tried to take the computer of her son Shady, she refused and insisted that the computer belongs to her son and not his father. They demanded to see her mobile. She denied using a mobile, upon which SSI arrested George Ishaaq and took him to a place, that remains unknown until now.

Hisham Mubarak Law Center has more on the charges on George Ishaq:

The Charges brought against George Isaac

The leading Kefaya member George Isaac was charged with plotting popular assembly in complicity with others with the purpose of assaulting people, public properties as well as using force and violence with the purpose of influencing public authority. So, according to the aforementioned charge, the Public Prosecution Office accused Isaac of the following charges:
The premeditated subversion of buildings and public properties with the purpose of enforcing chaos and resisting authorities, disrupting and jeopardizing the safety of public traffic, setting fire to residential buildings and shops, looting, and assaulting others.

Really ridiclious and pathetic allegations.

It´s not really that common that senior leaders of Kefaya faces arrest, but the authorities have other ways of making there prescence felt. Just about a month before the historic first Kefaya demonstration in November 2004 Abdel Halim Qandil was snatched on a Cairo street in broad daylight, driven to a location in the desert outside of Cairo and told in no uncertain terms to mind his own business, then finally stripped of his clothes and left on his own. This January, the new co-ordinator Abdel Wahab al Messiri faced the same ordeal when he, his wife and other activists was taken from a Kefaya demonstration in January 2008 protesting high prices, and in what could have been a re-run of what happend to Qandil, they were also driven out in the desert outside of Cairo, and left on their own. The only difference being that he was not threatened with a knife as well as verbaly, beaten up and stripped naked.

Here is an AP newswire by Pakinam Amer on the story and another one with a personal touch by CNN´s Ben Wedeman.

According to Kefaya, 61 of their members have been aerrested since the 4th of April.

UPDATE - George Ishaq is relaesed after paying 10 000 E.P for bail, pending his trial. He is not allowed to travel during that time according to a security official. - One of his associates got the usual 15 days of detention , while the other was awaiting the opinion of the medical comittee, to see if his health was good enough to face detention. The charges against all three men - inciting unrest and violence could give up to 10 years long prison sentences. More on this soon.

Also some disturbing news about photographer James Buck in Mahalla. Whose photos i have linked to in my previous post.

Friday noon

Another very gifted photographer, Nasser Nouri that have been providing us with images from day one in Mahalla has also been arrested according to Hossam´s twitter account just two hours ago, and is being held at Police Station I.

I have limited time right now, but would like to include a translate booklet about the wawe of strikes that has been translated into English. Hossam provided the link once again (Thanks!). It´s written by two journalists from al Doustor and al Badeel, Mostafa Bassiouni and Omar Said and is : on the “Egyptian new workers’ movement: the strike wave of 2007“… you can find the English translation here .

I also want give you the link to an al Jazeera inside story on the day of the General Strike, April 6th, it´s in two parts here (part 1) and part 2. Discusssing the matter is Dr Maged Reda Boutrous, Dr Rabab al Mahdi and Dr Saad Eddin Ibrahim. I can´t help to think that Dr Maged is a blessing in disguise for everybody who wants democracy in Egypt. Every time he´s on international media, he makes anyone look like a super star, when matched against him.

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