Faisal’s Tobril

Or the way I see it

Egyptian government clamps down on Press. Activists Detained.

Posted by Faisal on April 27, 2006

NOTE: This post covers a number of issues.Apparently, the Egyptian government needs the flimsiest of excuses to arrest members of the Press. According to BBC, Al Jazeera's Egyptian Bureau Chief (Hussein Abdel Ghany) has been arrested by Egyptian security forces.

Apparently, the man wrongfully claimed that an attack on an Egyptian police patrol had occurred in Sharkeya (an Egyptian governerate) yesterday. The thing is, I watched the man's live feed and he specifically mentioned that he had received information from three separate sources but that the Ministry of Interior is claiming that it didn't occur. Furthermore, he said that the channel will report more on the validity of the event as soon as they get more information.

Update: Apparently the government, or a representative of the National Democratic Party (NDP) ruling party, is saying that Hussein Abdel Ghany is not under arrest, and that he was merely wanted for questioning by the offices of the attorney general. Also, he says the reasons behind the "detainment" was that Al Jazeera channel displayed footage of Israeli ambulances transporting Israeli citizens, out of Taba, where bombings had occurred before, back to Israel. He also mentioned the fact that the alleged bombings in sharkeya did not occur and that Al Jazeera helped to spread panic because of these false allegations.

The funny thing is that while the NDP's man was saying that Hussein Abdel Ghany was not under arrest, merely wanted for questioning, Al Jazeera was showing footage of its Bureau Chief being transported by mini-bus to the location where he was to be questioned, surrounded by at least 5 police officers and other plain clothes security personnel. I guess this means he isn't under arrest and these officers were just helping find his way.

On another level, violence has re-ensued today in downtown Cairo near the Judge's club and Press Syndicate. This is after a series of violent confrontations that have been occurring over the past few days over an issue that has been developing for a couple of months now. Read Baheyya's posts for more information on the issue (3 separates).

There have been Egyptian citizens arrested in the early hours of Monday morning, yesterday and today during a sit-in protest at the Judge's Club. Kifaya's (arabic – English here) coverage of the matter here (arabic) and here (english) [keep in mind that the stories cover different points as they are not translations. Rather, they are written by different members/reporters].

As I write this, there are clashes between security forces and protestors in the area. For more information, visit Tomanbay's Blog [He covers news in a much more succinct and tech-wise manner].

On a more personal note, one of the protestors arrested on Monday is a personal friend of mine; Ahmed Yasser El Droubi. I can only say that the only thing that drove Ahmed to participate in the sit-in protest was his love for this country and his personal quest and contribution to the effort to bring true freedom, democracy and rule of law to this country.

Friends close to Ahmed and myself, who have kept abreast of the issue have informed me that Ahmed was transferred to Torah Prison; a place recognized by many as one where political prisoners are regularly detained and tortured. They also informed me that the security forces have renewed his detainment for a period of 15 days (one I'm told is the regular/standard detainment time in such situations).

Update(Thursday afternoon): According to another friend Ahmed is not in Torah Prison; lawyers who visited the place have not found neither him nor the other protestors detained with him. His whereabouts are, at the present time, unknown.

Update #2(Thursday Night): Apparently Ahmed and detainees of Monday night are in a station [El-Khalifa Station] (which I am not sure is a State Security one or a regular Police station) where they were first taken for interrogation and detainment.

Update #3 (Friday): In the on-going quest of finding Ahmed, the latest information is that he is being detained at Torah Prison. This is according to his mother who recieved a hand-written note, supposedly from from Ahmed. In the note he said that he is well and misses his friends and family. He also said that him and the other detainees need lawyers urgently. He also asked for a couple of cigarette cartons (kharateesh sagayer), probably for him and the other detainees.
The note recieved was written in Arabic, and in Ahmed's signature bad handwriting, which his mother recognized. Also, it seems that through contacts, a meeting with Ahmed has been arranged for saturday. This awaits to be seen.

This, of course, no way guarantees the authenticity of the note as it might have been forged. A mutual friend of Ahmed and I put to words the absurdity of the situation by saying that "what struck [him] the most is how conflicting reports are". Apparently, phone call inquiries carried out within seconds of each other would yield completely different results. This just stresses the media and information blackout that the Egyptian government has been carrying out to-date, in all its dealings with its citizens.

Ahmed's STATUS: Detained. Whereabouts Unconfirmed.


Ahmed is diabetic and thus far has not been allowed access to medical personnel, since he is not in possession of his medicines and other things that he requires because of his illness. (Video of the arrest).

Events such as these really help to spread a sense of impotence amongst people, myself included. My friend is under arrest for completely unjust and unfounded reasons and I, amongst others, find myself unable to do or say anything that would help or contribute to his release from imprisonment.

It's times like these that force one to accept even a violent solution to the problem.

And the that's the way I see it.

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2 Responses to “Egyptian government clamps down on Press. Activists Detained.”

  1. Rumour said

    The only press that should be thrown in the jail, are the reporters for The Sun, and World News Weekly.

  2. I don’t know drouby personally but I met him a couple of times in the American University in Cairo. He was in the Biology department where I got to know him and his friends. I was amazed by his acts last semester when he tried to get into the campus with the kafaya sticker and was barred from getting it. I hope he is safe. All your friends in the department and university are praying for you.

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