Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Free Mohamed El Sharkawy and Karim El Shaer

Two Kifaya activists have been imprisoned for another 15 days by Egyptian officials using administrative detention authority. This is another clear case of Egyptian officials silencing non-violent activists for non-violent political behavior. It's another example of them attempting to muzzle civil society and prevent the growth of any social organization of movement that it can't control. By crushing the vital civil society in Egypt, inevitably this will lead to a bipolar struggle for power between the Mubarak government and the growing Islamist movement. This, I am convinced is exactly what the Mubarak government wants: to force the outside world and -- more importantly Egyptians themselves -- to have to chose between these two options.

Here's the message signed by eight NGOs:

On the 5th of July 2006, the imprisonment of Mohamed Sharkawy and Karim El Shaer, Kefaya activists was extended again for another 15 days, because of their participation in the solidarity movement with Egyptian judges and despite the release of the remainder of Kefaya activists who were arrested during the same events.

Sharkawy was arrested on the 24th of April and was released on the 23rd of May to be arrested again two days later upon his participation in a protest rally in front of the press syndicate. This time, and during his arrest Sharkawy was subject to brutal beatings. He was then taken to Kasr El Nil police station and there he was tortured to the extent that his head and face were disfigured, as well as his sexual abuse in a shameful event that adds to the list of shame and brutality of Ministry of Interior and state security officers who carried out this torture or who have supervised it. Despite the obvious effects of torture on the face and body of Sharakwy when he was summoned to the state security prosecution (on the evening of the 25th of May), yet the prosecution was reluctant to refer him to forensic medical examination. Furthermore the prosecution did not refer Sharkawy to medical care except one week after he was transferred to prison!

Also, the prosecution did not until now undertake any measures to investigate the attack on Sharkawy, despite its documentation and the availability of eyewitnesses.

Since then state security prosecution continued to extend Sharkawy and Shaer’s imprisonment, in the absence of any reason other than to subject them both to psychological intimidation hoping that Sharkawy would be forced into giving up on his complaint of torture, or isolate him from anybody who could help him seek justice or keep him in prison until the signs of torture have disappeared.

All those events reveal the complicity of the state security prosecution and proves that it is part of the state security apparatus itself and not an independent investigation body. State security prosecution is known for using extended periods of detention as a punishment for dissidents, with no basis in the law.


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