Sunday, June 27, 2010

Police Brutality in Beheira

In light of the murder of Khaled Said, independent daily newspaper Al-Shorouk is highlighting more and more examples of alarming abuses committed by the Egyptian police, here is a summary of another story:
Al-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims published the outcomes of the fact-finding committee investigating the continuing abuses committed by security forces against El-Beheira farmers. A senior State Security officer bought their land from someone who doesn't own it, and insisted that his contract is authentic even though the farmers have authentic contracts themselves.
The farmers have been continuously terrorised since the beginning of this month. The first attack was on the 7th of June at 4 am. Armed policemen came upon the Shehab family homes, beat up their women and terrorised the whole village in an attempt to force them to give up their land.
A number of women were detained including Ilham Riad, wife of Gaber Shehab. She reports being beaten up and was hospitalised in Damanhour Hospital. She is currently suffering haemorrhage dangerous enough to make her lose her baby.
Twenty four hours later, another force trespassed the farmers' land and destroyed the corn fields in order to make it difficult for the prosecution to examine it and prove that it belongs to the farmers. The farmers are also accusing a member of parliament of conspiring with the police to destroy and steal their land, and that he previously stole a huge piece of land and sold it to the same SS officer.
The police officers performed their third raid at noon on the same day; 8th of June. They smashed the farmers' irrigators to push them further more.
Farmers bought this land in 2000, and the SS officer bought it "again" from a different contractor in 2009 and has been abusing his position and power since then to force them to give up their land.

View original (Arabic)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In Support of Victims of Torture, Egypt Stands Strong

It will take a long time to process the public scene in Egypt yesterday. Whereas it is true that protests are no longer novel events in Egypt and that the country has been rife with protests for many reasons ranging from political reform to pay rise or even an unfair manager taking over a public hospital, rarely before have hundreds, perhaps thousands of Egyptians decided to publicly grief for the same reason. And it is no trivial reason such as losing World Cup qualifications; to protest brutal murder of Khaled Said at the hands of the police, and torture victims in general.

The Alexandria protests in which public figures such As ElBaradei, Noor and Sabbahi participated (or actually called for, can't tell) were massive. The location of assembly, Sidi Gaber, had been turned into a closed military area. Thousands of riot police were present and even tanks! Now, the Ministry of Interior knows quite well none of the protestors is armed with a knife, let alone machine guns. So the scene of tanks was quite bizarre as well as funny, and some protestors reportedly responded by taking pictures beside tanks and waving the victory sign. A scene from the occupied Palestinian land.

What I want to focus on, however, are the ensuing silent protests which took place in at least eight different cities. The protests have been announced online, particularly on Facebook. It was not one event planned by a certain movement or person. They were multiple events, in multiple places created by a Facebook page for Khaled Said. No one knows the administrator of the page. He or she just asked participants to silently protest in the downtowns of the cities wearing black. The "rules" also included not chanting or holding banners. And so they did, brilliantly organic they were. The young people particpating wanted to protest, but didn't want to get into scuffles or get detained. Not that all people who are unjustly detained are protestors, but so it goes. These revealing protests come after a long time of believing that no matter what we do, no one will listen, nothing will change. But blimey I can see change with my own two eyes seeing yesterday's protests. The Egyptian regime has generated a stubborn generation who swore to stand up against injustice, clearly realising that you do not have to be a political activist to be tortured. And since they didn't know the person calling for the protest, they don't always need a leader. All they need is to witness injustice. The number of Egyptians who are willing to sacrifice their personal safety is increasing, and one reason for this is, again, realising that you are not safe if you "walk next to the wall" as we say. Their act in this context may I say is an act of self-preservation. The regime has been pushing too hard, impoverishing us and slamming us if we as much as utter a moan of pain. They should have seen this coming.

Whereas this public outcry may not necessarily push towards a fair sentence for Khaled's murderers and a change of this system of torture all in all, especially given last Wednesday's phony autopsy report, it signals again a change of public attitude towards regime crimes. You wouldn't hear of a similar reaction 10 or 15 years back, when all our sources of information was government-controlled. But now torture is difficult to hide, and in this incident in particular Khaled's broken skull is screaming at us to stand strong against it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Protests Against Torture All Over Egypt

The scene today in Alexandria, Cairo, Damietta, Port Said, Munufiya, Assiout, Menya, Tanta, Mansoura, Fayoum is exhilirating. I will let the photos I have stolen from all over twitter and facebook speak for themselves. One last thing though: there IS hope for Egypt!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ملف أحمد زكي بدر - الصفحة الثالثة

وزير التعليم وعدوي اللدود ذو العقلية الأمنية اللي ماتخرش المية ناقل المراقبين بتوع الثانوية العامة من محافظة لمحافظة لأول مرة في حدود علمي، أكيد طبعاً عشان "يمنع الغش" على أساس إن المراقب ممكن يبقى عارف حد في محافظته فيسيبه يغش...بغض النظر عن إن المراقب بياخد ملاليم بمعنى الكلمة وبيسافر طبعاً في مواصلات مهينة مش في الأسباني...في أسبوع واحد يا حرام 3 مراقبين فيصوا في الحر وماتوا...شفتوا الفرن اللي كنا فيه في القاهرة يوم الاتنين والتلات؟ تخيلوا بقى في الصعيد الجو كان عامل إزاي...مش عارفة إيه المنطق اللي بيقول إن الواحد لو سافر برة محافظته مش حايسمح للطلبة إنهم يغشوا...في حد يخللي راجل عجوز عنده 58 سنة طافح المر طول عمره يسافر في نار جهنم دي لمجرد إن في احتمال، احتمال يعني، إنه يعرف طالب في لجنته ويسمح له يغش؟
اللي ماعندوش ضمير في محافظته مش حيبقى عنده ضمير في أي داهية وهيسمح للطلبة برضو إنها تغش، يبقى ليه شحططة الناس الغلابة؟ عجبني فعلاً رد فعل المذيعة ريم ماجد امبارح على برنامج يلدنا لما قالت مش كفاية الظروف البائسة اللي الناس دي عايشة فيها، كمان مخليهم يموتوا بالطريقة دي، وتعويض إيه اللي الوزير دفعه لأهل المتوفى، بتعوض مين عن مين؟
صحيح هو فار ومات؟ ده بني آدم كان مظلوم في وزارتك ومات وذنبه في رقبتك يا وزير.
ولو عايزين نتكلم بصراحة بقى، الوزير لما كان ماسك رئيس جامعة عين شمس ربنا ما يعودها أيام كان بيبعت العمال "يوصوا" على طلبة معينة، بيدخل العامل على الأساتذة في الكنترول ويقول بالنص رئيس الجامعة موصي على الاسم ده، والكلام ده أنا بقوله على مسؤوليتي، وللقارئ العزيز يتخيل هو يقصد إيه بمعنى التوصية.
ماتجيش بقى بعد التاريخ المشرف ده تنقل الناس الغلابة منعاً للغش، لو موظف معين اتعرف إنه بيسمح للغش المفروض هو لوحده يتعاقب - والطلبة طبعاً - لكن نظام العاطل في الباطل ده حرام.
فرحت جداً لما عرفت إن أسرة الضحية/المتوفى الأول قررت تقاضي الوزير، ولحد ما المراقبين يتعتقوا من الوزير ربنا يستر عليهم.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Autopsy Report of Khaled Said's Body

The autopsy report of Khaled Said's body came out today, a load of crap as expected. It claims, again, that he died of asphyxia after swallowing a cannabis "cigarette". It adds that the trauma to the skull has been caused by beating or hitting the head against a hard surface, but that it is not the cause of death(!!!)
Bloggers who have been following the case are beyond enraged.
There is still a silent protest next Friday, and probably more protests will break out if the Ministry of Interior and its allies in the field of forensic medicine try to close the case.

رئيس مصلحة الطب الشرعي يتهرب من عم الشهيد خالد سعيد

معتز الدمرداش كان بيتصل بالسباعي رئيس مصلحة الطب الشرعي وكان عم الشهيد خالد سعيد على الخط التاني، السباعي قال الكلام اللي اتنشر وعم الشهيد رد عليه وقال له إنت عملت أشعة على الجثة؟ أنا دكتور أسنان بقى لي 40 سنة وعايز دكتور يقول لي منظر الفك كده عادي؟ معتز حاول يرجع تاني للسباعي لقى الخط مقطوع.

عاجل: تقرير الطب الشرعي أثبت وفاة خالد سعيد بالاختناق

التفاصيل هنا
بس أنا مش فاهمة يعني إيه؟؟؟؟؟ حتى لو التقرير صحيح كده أثبتوا إنه اتضرب ولا إيه؟
وكده الشهود حتبقى شهادتهم ليها قيمة ولا لأ؟
حد محامي أو دكتور يفهمنا إيه المتوقع بالظبط...في أمل إن اللي قتلوه يتحاكموا ولا نسيب أم البلد دي؟

Cruel Summer

I will likely spend a most cruel summer. One friend who had been staying temporarily in Egypt is going back to his country for good, another friend is getting married and will be spending a good part of the summer away, and a third is also spending a month abroad. I am left with the stabbing pain of departure, which none of the so-called social networks or words in an email will be able to cure. I will have to spend lonely mornings in bed marvelling at the swiss breakfasts and espressoes we had together, walk the busy streets of downtown alone, see my friend's face here, and hear a comment he made there. There is something absolutely viscious about relationships as you know that no matter what, all relationships end, sometimes leaving you wondering why it started in the first place. You keep trying to convince yourself that it may evolve into another kind of bond, but in reality all you are left with is memories of a past that is impossible to replay.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Anger Rising in Egypt After Police Brutality Incidents

Another angry day in Egypt.
Hundreds of protestors gathered in downtown to protest brutal murder of Khaled Said at the hands of Egyptian police. What was initially planned to be a protest in Tahrir changed into a march throughout downtown streets. Protestors cheated the at least 20 Central Security trucks full of maybe 600 poor, underfed conscripts prepared to crush them to death. Instead, they started to gather in a busy market area hundreds of metres away and started an angry march, of course untouched by policemen! When one or two policemen ventured to snatch ppl away, they were easily outnumbered.
I recorded the scene in disbelief, as the march continued from a narrow street to bigger ones until we were actually in the heart of downtown. No policeman or soldier was in sight. People outside the march were in disbelief too, and their reactions ranged from just looking on, randomly and briefly joining us, supporting us with thumbs up, or recording us. I tried to apologise for a taxi driver for the traffic jam we created, but he responded kindly and was totally understanding.
Everyone secretly wondered when the police crackdown will start. A golden 15 minutes passed before plainclothed policemen started gathering helplessly. You know them by the look even though they're not in uniform. Smug, moustached, mean-looking. We reached Sherif St when violent clashes began...we were surrounded on one side by only one line of soldiers, but among us were many plainclothed policemen. It was totally chaotic and people were being pushed everywhere. For a moment I didn't know where to go and moved to the pavement when I found a policeman screaming at us to go away. We were around 20 ppl on the pavement, only two of whom were among the protest. I heard roaring sounds, and actually looked back to make sure they were made by people not hyenas or lions. A guy I don't know was beaten by said policeman but later managed to run away, just as everyone of us was instinctively running in alleys, while being called names by policemen I thankfully couldn't make out. I jumped into a tiny mosque and collapsed. For a whole hour and a half I couldn't got out, made some calls and knew that there have been arrests and that until writing this post, the rest of protestors were still at the press syndicate to demand release of all detainees.
Most recent protests have been immobile. Protestors would chant in a planned area and be cordoned off...but todays protests for Khaled Said was somewhat out of police control and more in the heart of the city, instead of side streets. The location of the protest is dramatic, and one reason for the success of today's protest is that it managed to be a march, with non-members getting the chance to know the reason, and express how they feel, however shyly.
On another note, autopsy report of Khaled Said's body is bound to come out this week. In fact, the report may determine the cause of death, but may not necessarily prove that he was beaten to death. It is left for the witnesses to stand their ground, and bring justice for Khaled.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Egyptians Silently Protest the Murder of Khaled Said

It is a scene I have personally never witnessed before following the myriad of catastrophes that befell Egyptians. Answering a call on Facebook to organise silent protests in Cairo and Alexandria following the gruesome murder of Alexandrian Khaled Said at the hands of policemen, hundreds have taken to the streets silently, dressed in black. They did not necessarily know each other and were mostly non-activists. This is another sign of the spirit of discontent rising in Egypt for many reasons, the last of which was police brutality. It is proof that discontent is not voiced by "a few, outlaw activists" as our government prefers to refer to them, but by virtually everyone in this country ruled by Mubarak and his consort.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Murder of Khaled Said: Egypt's Waking Nightmare

During the late hours of Sunday the 6th of June, two police informers stormed an internet cafe in the coastal city of Alexandria. The attack left Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man dead.

At that point, the crime could have not made headlines, and could have gone unquestioned like many other police torture crimes in Egypt, but a picture of an innocent-looking, premortem Khaled and another of his body showing a swollen, badly bruised face and mangled jaw, were circulated on the internet, particularly Facebook, like wildfire.

Luckily for systematic torture victims, unluckily for the Egyptian government, the picture sent shockwaves across Egypt, and internationally as well. Amnesty International was quick to urge Egypt to investigate the brutal killing of Khaled. Word was out on AlJazeera too, the Egyptian government's bitter enemy, if you may. On Thursday a group of activists demonstrated in front of the Sidi Gaber police station, the station which sent the informers and where reportedly a police officer oversaw the killing. Puzzling news was spread of an acquittal of the informers and an accusation of protesters of "insulting a government body."

The reasons for the gruesome murder have been questioned, but to date there is no confirmed explanation. The few eye witnesses present first said that the informers asked Khaled roughly for his ID and wanted to search him. When he protested and asked about their search warrant, they tied him up, beat his head against a marble shelf, dragged him out of the cafe and continued beating his head against an adjacent iron door. They then took his lifeless body to the police station for a few minutes, only to return and leave it in the crime scene. Another more popular story was circulated, according to which Khaled had a video dating to late 2009 showing a police officer and a group of informers distributing money and weed after capturing them from a dealer.

The shameless Ministry of Interior issued a phony statement to explain Khaled's death. They said Khaled died of asphyxia after he swallowed a drug joint. Adding insult to injury (in this case brutal murder), they also spread rumours that Khaled, whose name literally translates to "immortal happy", was a drug junkie who escaped mandatory military service. In response, the certificate of the military service was scanned and widely circulated to show that the MOI's side of the story is a badly orchestrated spoof. People on twitter wondered how asphyxia can cause undeniable damage to the skull as shown in the picture. One twitter user, Wael Abd El-Fattah, sarcastically noted that Khaled actually died of Egyptian regime asphyxia. More importantly, even if he is a drug addict, what law or even logic is there which allows beating addicts to death?

The murder became the talk of the country and the virtual community. But activists decided to take it to the streets as well, not in front of the press syndicate, lawyers' syndicate, People's Assembly, Shura Council or Attorney-General's office as has been the norm in the past few years for most protests in Egypt, but in front of the MOI headquarters in Lazoughly. The in-your-face protest of around 200 people was predictably kettled. Downtown Cairo where the MOI is was "occupied by the police" as activists described it. Many activists were verbally harassed, beaten, injured and detained. Mobile phones and cameras were confiscated. They expressed a direct link between the Emergency Law which provides unlimited power to law enforcement authorities and the murder of Khaled. The Ministry has been described as "the ministry of torture", and protesters screamed for the killers to go to trial. Under Emergency Law and the systematic use of torture, any one of us could be Khaled, this was their claim. Apparently, the MOI had expected people to be too horrified by the picture to protest in fear of facing a similar fate, but was surprised by their resilience.

Hopes were hung on a not-very-reliable authority to bring justice to Khaled; the media. Saturday night satellite talk shows showed reports on the murder, but still focused mainly on the MOI statement. On Sunday night, the popular Ashera Masaan showed the video from the police station which allegedly caused Khaled's untimely death. Announcer Mona El-Shazly asserted that the video is authentic, but that it is a celebration of the capture of the dealer, contrary to other views which accused the police of distributing the money and the drugs. Frustratingly enough, El-Shazly did not show the other side of the story and did not report with Khaled's brother. She in other words acquitted the MOI of a corruption case in the eyes of millions of viewers as far as the video is concerned. However, she wondered if informers actually have the authority to arrest people, not to mention beat them up in such a brutal way. Mona's comment poses even more questions on the motives, making it even scarier that Khaled possibly died for no reason at all, not that any reason is acceptable. Instead of dedicating a time slot in her programme to the crime, she interviewed someone about the alleged hacking of AlJazeera world cup satellite transmission.

Newspapers were divided according to their very own allegiances. The government mouthpiece Al-Gumhuriya published yesterday a joke of an article by the editor-in-chief sarcastically describing Sunday protest as a "protest for a junkie." Interestingly, he "accused" the protesters of "gaining strength" from international "authorities." It is an unintentional, subconscious reference to the fact that Egyptian authorities, namely the Ministry of Justice, are often too weak to punish police criminals. Independent Al-Shorouq newsapaper, on the other hand, published balanced timely updates on the crime and the aftermath, as well as the pictures of both life and death, making it impossible for readers to buy the story of the Ministry.

As if it could get any worse, journalist Ahmad Ragab posted on twitter news on yet another death by torture in a police station. The details are all too familiar. Saber Abd El-Semei, 58, protested when informers tried to remove a kiosk for selling sandwiches. He was kidnapped and taken to Nasr City police station. His family found his body five days later in Heliopolis hospital. His daughter was told by the doctors in the morgue that he was beaten with a BB gun on his head until he died.

Ethical concerns were voiced about the spread of the picture of Khaled's lifeless body. Not only because it was probably published prior to his family's consent, but it is also a horrific, shocking picture, unwillingly seen by Facebook users and newspaper readers. The dramatic twist in the story is that, had the picture not been published, Khaled's murder might have received minimum to zero attention, not to mention legal prosecution. Unless families of victims and supporters speak up, this will be the case with Saber for example.

After five tense days of shock, anger and hurt, the first sigh of relief came when blogger and journalist Hossam El-Hamalawy, who was also injured in the Lazoughly portest, tweeted that family lawyers and prosecutors were then investigating the crime scene one day after the Attorney-General ordered the case to be reopened. Thankfully, the few witnesses were present as well to testify.

As expected there are calls for the stepdown of Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adly. Systematic torture in Egypt (as a republic) has been practiced since the fifties. The only development is that whereas in the past it was exclusive to political opponents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, now innocent people are not immune from it. Not even women and children are. It is a cruel regime that can only be cured by being uprooted. We are crushed under the weight of political oppression and poverty and vent out anger among ourselves. Nonetheless, a change of names is not the only answer. Egyptians need to know their self-worth and legal rights. We need to know that save for instances of war and self-defence, no one deserves to be physically assaulted. We now engage in scuffles over everything from a minor threat of a car accident to theft or burglary. Furthermore, even when victims of torture or their families insist on persecuting the police criminals, the sentences are often disproportionate with the harm done. Take the case of Emad El-Kebir, who was sodomised, beaten and humiliated, and in return his bully/policeman Islam Nabih received a fleeting three years in jail sentence and was not suspended from his job. In any case, it is left for the hands of a slow and frail justice system to lessen the brunt of torture in Egypt.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

الأمن قتل خالد

تحذير: الصورة في رابط الشروق صادمة
من جريدة الشروق مخبرين قتلوا شاب في الإسكندرية ضرباً لمجرد إنه دافع عن كرامته
وطبعاً المحاميين وووكلاء النيابة مش فاضيين لنا عشان بيتخانقوا مع بعض
ليورمو بيقول إن في اعتصام دلوقتي قدام القسم

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

التجربة 122

عندي أصحاب متدينين لكن مش نشطاء سياسيين وأصحاب نشطاء سياسيين ومش متدينين، عايزة أضربهم في الخلاط زي إعلان دولسيكا وأطلع ملايكة

Friday, June 04, 2010

السبت وقفة احتجاجية على الحصار وضرب أسطول الحرية

نرجو الحضور ونشر الدعوة

السكوت على حصار غزة خطيئة لا تغتفر

أعلنت الحملة العالمية لكسر الحصار على غزة 5 يونيو يوما عالميا للإحتجاج على الحصار وضرب أسطول الحرية

ويأتي هذا في الوقت الذي يتفنن فيه النظام المصري في
وضع العراقيل أمام حركة المساعدات والأفراد في معبر رفح
والحد من المواد المسموح بدخولها عبر المعبر
وهو ما يكشف زيف إدعائه بفتح المعبر

لنقف معا ضد الحصار الذي دمر غزة ويهدف لتركيع مقاومتها

من أجل فك الحصار على غزة ومن أجل فتح معبر رفح بشكل حقيقي

وتضامنا مع شعب فلسطين ومقاومته الباسلة وقوافل فك الحصار الشجاعة

نشارك أحرار العالم بوقفة احتجاجية غدا

السبت 5 يونيو، الساعة 6 مساءا

أمام نقابة الصحافيين

أفتحوا معبر رفح بشكل حقيقي

أفتحوا معبر رفح أمام قوافل المناصرة

تمرير التبرعات لقوات الإحتلال عبر معبر العوجة على أنها فتح للمعبر أكاذيب ساذجة لا تخدع أحدا

حركة كلنا مقاومة