Egyptian Activist Esraa Abdel Fattah Disappears in Mysterious Circumstances

Published October 14th, 2019 - 07:08 GMT
Blogger and journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah, 41, was detained on Saturday evening, a fellow activist said. (Twitter)
Blogger and journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah, 41, was detained on Saturday evening, a fellow activist said. (Twitter)
Esraa Abdel Fattah's whereabouts is currently unknown, a local watchdog group said, after the Egyptian activist was arrested by security forces.

Egypt has detained two prominent activists who played key roles in the 2011 revolution, activists and a rights group said, the latest in a wave of arrests in recent weeks.

Blogger and journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah, 41, was detained on Saturday evening, a fellow activist said.

Mohamed Salah wrote on his Facebook page that shortly after meeting Abdel Fattah "two cars full of plainclothes police officers took her in one car and me in another."

He added: "They left me after an hour on the highway after they blindfolded and beat me." 

Abdel Fattah is best known for co-founding the 6th of April movement in 2008. 

The youth movement was instrumental in mobilising millions of Egyptians in the uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Abdel Fattah's whereabouts is currently unknown, according to local watchdog group, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom.

Abdallah Said, another political activist and official with the opposition Bread and Freedom party, was also detained from his home early on Sunday, according to a note posted by his party on social media.

Other officials from the leftist party have also been rounded up in recent weeks.

In the last three weeks, authorities have detained about 3,000 people, including well-known academics, activists and lawyers, according to rights groups.

Activists say the crackdown is one of the worst since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2014. 

While some detainees have been released, no high-profile figures have been freed, according to a list maintained by rights monitors. 

On Saturday, Britain's Edinburgh University urged all of its students in Cairo to return home after two were arrested by Egyptian authorities.

The university says two of its students studying in the city were recently detained and subsequently released by Egyptian authorities.

The university's press office said in a statement that the university had concerns for the safety and well-being of its remaining nine students and urged them to return home, The Associated Press reported. 

"We have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our students and to take decisive action when there are concerns for their safety and wellbeing," a spokesman for the university said.

Just a day earlier, Egyptian authorities detained Italian journalist Francesca Borri at Cairo International Airport shortly after arriving from Italy, according to media reports.

"They [Egyptian authorities] are running some checks. She was blocked inside due to some verifications on her passport due to a stamp from a country they are investigating," Antonio Decaro, the mayor of the journalist's hometown of Bari, told Italian media.

"We hope that in a couple of hours everything will be resolved," he added.

Decaro said that an official from the Italian consulate in Cairo was with the journalist inside the room where she was being held. 

The Italian embassy in Egypt said they are following the case closely.

Diplomatic sources told RaiNews that the Italian consul had headed to the airport to assist Borri.

Meanwhile, the family of Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel Fattah said he was beaten, threatened and stripped to his underwear after being arrested during the recent clampdown on recent anti-government protests.

Abdel Fattah told his lawyers that since his arrest, he was subjected to several violations including being blindfolded, insulted, slapped, kicked and threatened never to be released from Cairo's most notorious prisons, where he is being held, a statement from his family read.

Mona Seif, Abdel Fattah's sister, told The Associated Press that he had filed a legal complaint about all the alleged abuses with the State Security prosecutors during a hearing on Wednesday to renew his pre-trial detention.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

Copyright @ 2020 The New Arab.

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