Egypt: Three arrested ahead of revolution anniversary

Published January 16th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT

Three individuals arrested on Thursday were placed under detention for four days pending investigation after being reffered to the prosecution Friday morning.

Taher Mokhtar, member of the Freedoms Committee at the Medical Doctors Syndicate, law student Ahmed Hassan and engineering student Hossam al-Din Hammad were arrested from their apartment in Downtown Cairo after security forces carried out a sudden inspection.

Lawyer Mokhtar Mounir from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), who headed to the apartment that day, was informed by the Abdeen security forces that leased apartments in the vicinity of the Interior ministry were being inspected as a precautionary measure.

The three were taken to the Abdeen police station to be questioned by the Homeland Security officials. Some equipment was confiscated from the apartment including papers and a personal computer.

They were accused of possessing leaflets calling for the overthrow of the regime. The leaflets featured content criminalizing medical negligence in prisons coupled with calls to reform the health sector as well as demands to overthrow the current government, according to AFTE.

The Doctors' Syndicate demanded Mokhtar's release in a statement on Friday, and mentioned that Mokhtar was responsible for following up on the health conditions of detainees, which explains the presence of publications and material featuring content related to detainees in the apartment.   

Homeland security investigations indicated that the detained individuals were attempting to incite citizens to join protests on Jan. 25.

Security forces have been carrying out several arrests and raids in the prelude to the fifth anniversary of the Jan. 25 revolution.

On the same day of the arrests, the headquarters of privately-owned Masr al-Arabia, a Cairo-based news website, was stormed by security forces and its managing editor arrested. The editor was released Friday pending investigation.

Also, Egyptian poet and novelist Omar Hazek was prevented Thursday from travelling to the Netherlands while he was on his way to attend the Writers Unlimited Festival, where he was set to receive the Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression in a ceremony.

Hazek spent two years in prison before he was pardoned among 100 others last September by virtue of a presidential decree.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, aided by other state institutions, had previously warned against the consequences of renewed protests.

Five years ago in January, hundreds of thousands took to the streets, leading to the ouster of then-President Hosni Mubarak who ruled the country for around 30 years.

By Nourhan Fahmy

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