Wednesday, July 23, 2008

15 activists arrested at Sidi Bishr in Alexandria, Ahmed Maher among them

BREAKING STORY -14 activists from Ghad Youth and the April 6th Youth has been arrested at the Sidi Bishr beach in Alexandria. They were singing songs about Egypt and raised the Egyptian flag on the beach as well as wearing T-shirts with 6th of April youth on.

One of the April 6th Youth, Muhammed Abd al Aziz described the scene prior to the arrest like this:

"We were heading for Sidi Beshr beach but a policeman prevented us getting there because we had a large kite painted with the Egyptian flag and we were wearing T-shirts with 'April 6 Movement' on,"


Here is a clip taken by the group, showing them on the beach, dismantling the kite/Egyptian flag. Minutes later they were beaten and some of them arrested.



The beach of Sidi Bishr being one of the most frequented by alexandrians and summer tourists alike, If intended this seems to have been a combination of one of Kefayya Youth brilliant ideas of taking the message to the people, as they did in the summer of 2005 in popular Cairo neigbourhoods like Shoubra and Sayyida Zeinab and the idea launched last July 23rd, of making a statement by raising the flag on the national day as a protest to say that it´s our symbol too, and not only the perogative of the state, A reclaim the flag/the flag statement is ours if you like.

UPDATE: They were walking down the Alexandrian corniche, when they were arrested. According to one of the detainess, they were beaten by officers at al Farana.


According to reports, they have been taken to the Alexandria State Security Headquarters, al Farana, the same place where Kareem Amer was taken after the Muharram Beq riots in October 2005.

The April 6th Youth had been calling for a gathering today at 12:30 at the Ghad Party headquarters in Alexandria, and the focus this time was Prisoners of Conscience, but it was perhaps even more a way of establish or formalize contactcs in Alexandria, considering that the April 6th Youth was established less than 30 days ago, after the success of the facebook site calling for a General strike on April 6th. Their two front figures both suffered greatly in the aftermath of April 6th, Esraa abd al Fattah was detained and held in prison while Ahmed Maher was taken from his car into a minibuss, taken to a police station were he got beaten up before being taken to notorius SSI Headquarters at Lazoughli and faced with a threat of rape, and badly beaten up once again.

A sit in will be held at the General Prosecutor´s office, Cairo High Court at 2 P.M Thursday, July 24th to demand the release of the April 6th detainees. Inanities provides an eyewitness report here.

UPDATE: Ahmed Maher arrested in Alexandria today. He was taken away at the Raml tram station in downtown Alexandria at 1 P:M and it´s unclear at this point in time if he is detained at al Farana or somewhere else.

The 14 others that were detained yesterday, was given a 15 day term in detention pending further investigation, the case number is 4943/2008. The 14 is said to have been denied legal council at the public prosecutions office.

The group was presented to the public prosecution the same evening, they were denied access to lawyers, a natural right of all arrestees.


According to Ahmed abd al Gawad, a member of both April 6th and the Ghad party:
“From the reports we got from Al-Ramal Court in Alexandria, the detainees have been dealt with in a way which contradicts the constitution and Egyptian law,”


The charges are as follows:
Hindering the traffic

gathering of more than 5 people in a public space and assembling persons under the name of “6 April Movement”, using the internet and incitement for overthrow the regime and destabilizing the country.

incitement to demonstration through distribution of publications among citizens inviting them for civil disobedience.

The names of the 14 (plus Ahmed Maher) are as follows:

1- Khalid Adil
2- Mahinor Al Masri
3- Yousuf Sha'ban
4- Basim Fathi
5- Mustafa Mahir
7- Nur Al Din Subhi
8- Medhat Shakir
9- Mutasim Bellah Mohamed
10- Tarig Tito
11- Mohamed Mahmoud
12- Ahmed Nassar
13- Ahmed Afifi
14- ********* his name still unknown
15- Ahmed Mahir “Abducted this Afternoon”

According to the AFP 12 more activists were arrested today.

Developments will be followed and updates given as more information becomes available, especially about Ahmed Maher´s whereabouts.

UPDATE: Ahmed Maher recieved a 15 day-term, pending further investigation, and has been taken to Hadra prison in Alexandria, unlike the other 14, whom is being held at the infamous Burg al Arab, where Kareem Amer and Mo´sad Abu Fagr is being held, and where Beheiri and Marei among others have just served time. One might ask why Ahmed Maher is separated from the rest? There is conflicting reports of the whereabouts of the 14, according to the Hisham Mubarak Law Center , they are at Hadra prison.



Here is a 23 minute report from journeyman pictures, Egypt's Facebook Face Off aired on July 2nd, it´s made in the period between the April 6th and May 4th demos(a part is also made after that, including a second interview with Ahmed Maher after being subjugated to beatings at Lazoughly).

Ayman Nour not among the pardoned

The founder and former leader of al Ghad, Ayman Nour was not among the 1500 pardoned by the President as part of the customary celebrations of the national day, in comemmoration of the 1952 revolution, something that was roumered to be in the making. He is reported to be on a hungerstrike, in protest over the way his prison visitors were treated, during yesterday´s visit.

Nour is currently serving a five year sentence for forging signatures needed to apply for a party liscense. The verdict is seen by many as politically motivated, and being on trumped up charges. Nour´s been serving more than half his sentence, and was eligible for pardon for the first time. All options of appeal are already, tried, and the only avenue left is a pardon.

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