By Randa Darwish
Egyptian activist and blogger Wael Abbas was reportedly arrested, Wednesday morning. He wrote on his Facebook account: “I am being arrested”.
Wael’s friends confirmed his arrest and assured his whereabouts are still unknown. Meanwhile, the Egyptian authorities remain silent.
Egyptian activists and Wael’s friends have launched a hashtag on social media: #وائل_عباس_فين or (Where is Wael Abbas?) in a step to show support and protest their friends’ arbitrary arrest.
On the hashtag, Wael’s friends narrowed details of the arrest incident, saying an armed police force stormed Wael’s home at dawn and taken blindfolded to an unknown destination.
The Egyptian blogger #Wael_Abbas has been arrested from his home and taken to an unknown place with no reason but this is our New #Egypt :— Ahmed Taha (@ahmed_taha25jan) May 23, 2018
Where's Wael Abbas?#وائل_عباس_فين#FreeWaelAbbas pic.twitter.com/Fgt2QypZL4
The Egyptian activist and blogger Wael Abbas got arrested from his house 2 hours ago. They broke-in and kidnapped him, and no one know where he is! #whereiswael?#وائل_عباس_فين؟— Kirolos Nathan (@Kiroz_) May 23, 2018
Abbas, who was always known for anti-government stance and his role in documenting the 2011 uprising against the Mubarak regime, had his Twitter account recently suspended with more than 250,000 tweets deleted including pictures, videos and live streams from Egypt.
Twitter faced criticism over the account's suspension. He wrote on his Facebook page that Twitter sent him an email “saying my account is suspended for an allotted time, which they did not specify, and for reasons they did not specify too”.
As a PhD student working on cyberactivism during Arab Spring, I can't accept @Twitter decision to close @waelabbas account as it is a live archive to the events of the revolution and till today in one of few accounts still documenting human rights abuses in Egypt. Please open it— شريف عازر (@sherif_azer) December 17, 2017
In response, Al-Ahram newspaper reported Abbas’ account was suspended because of his intention to incite violence. Abbas replied on Facebook: “The biggest official newspaper in Egypt is happy my Twitter is suspended. This tells much doesn’t it? Need I say anything now?”
Concern has been rising over the Egyptian authorities abuse carried out against the media and journalists with the use of arbitrary detention and disappearance on the rise.
Tarek Hussein, who is a human rights defender and lawyer tweeted following Wael’s arrest news: “During the last 24 hours in Egypt, journalist Ismail al-Alexandrian was sentenced to 10 years in a military trial after he was held in detention for more than two years, Hisham Jaffar’s arrest renewed for another 45 days although he had exceeded the legal pre-trial detention period, Wael Abbas was arrested and his whereabouts are still unknown, and Dr. Muna Mina resigned over reducing the threshold of freedom of association.”
أخر ٢٤ ساعة في مصر ، الحكم علي الصحفي أسماعيل الاسكندراني١٠ سنوات في محاكمة عسكرية بعد فتره حبس أحتياطي تخطيت العامين ، تجديد حبس هشام جعفر ٤٥ يوم رغم تخطيه فتره الحبس الاحتياطي القانونية،القبض علي وائل عباس وغير معلوم مكانة حتي الأن، استقالة د.مني مينا لخفض سقف الحريات النقابية— Tarek Hussein (@TarekHussein22) May 23, 2018