The story of the detention of Fadi Samir is indeed strange, for he is a Christian in Egypt accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a press conference held at the Journalists’ Union on Sunday, Abu Fadi (Fadi’s father) said that the charges made by the Ministry of Interior against the young man “canned and ready-made”. Why, he asked, do we educate our children to be good citizens only for the authorities to detain them and torture them?
“Street sellers do deals with the Interior Ministry to capture and deliver the youth to them in police stations,” alleged Abu Fadi. “This is what they did with my son. They delivered him to Abedin Police Station. Al-Sisi has not done away with terrorism; he is doing away with our youth.”
Fadi’s mother (Umm Fadi), who took to the stage unexpectedly, while weeping, said: “Certain parties have offered us religious asylum. I turned the offer down because I wish to live in my country.” She added that the future of her son has been lost. “How do you expect him, after all that has happened to him, to love this country?”
English translation below the video.
Translation of the video:
[A man speaking from the stage] Egyptian citizen Fadi Samir is in detention. It is obvious from the name that he is a Christian. We want someone from his family to talk about his case.
Abu Fadi (Fadi’s father): I would like first of all to tell all the people that I do not make a distinction between a Christian and a Muslim. But, my son was arrested by “street sellers” who made a deal with the Interior Ministry so as to be allowed to remain on the street in exchange for detaining young men aged between 15 and 25. When he was taken to the police station he was told that he had been taken in because he belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. He said that he does not. They said then you belong to the 6 April Movement. He said to them I am Christian, here is my Identity Card. I do not belong to the Brotherhood. They said, then you must be a member of the 6 April Movement. In other words, charges are ready-made. I would like to say to the prosecutor who looks into the cases of all the youth who have been detained, look into the list of charges you have been handed (by the authorities) you will find that they are the same standard charges. Thuggery, highway robbery, abuse of the Interior Ministry … they are the same standard accusations. I would say to you: what you are doing is unlawful. We have been investing in these young men from our blood and flesh so as to educate them and so that they become good lads. Then you come so easily to arrest them and throw them inside detention centres where you torture them. My son was arrested and taken to Qasr Al-Nil police station. Then they took him to Abedin police station where the young men were beaten severely. This is unlawful. I appeal to the Interior Minister and say to him that we, since the beginning of 25 January until 3 July when the Field Marshal asked us to give him a mandate to finish off terrorism. I would like to say to the Field Marshal that it is not terrorism that has been finished off, but it is our youth who have been finished off. From this position, I would like to say to him it is unlawful what you are doing.
Umm Fadi (Fadi’s mother): My son has been in detention for a month and a half. He has missed his exams. His future has been lost. I have just heard that today his detention in prison will be extended for a further 45 days. My daughter is supposed to have her wedding in May. My son’s education has been disrupted and his future lost. Shall I cancel my daughter’s wedding? What must I do? What refuge do I have to go to? What will become of these young men when they leave prison or the detention centre? What will they be doing? I have received many offers to apply for political asylum or for religious asylum. I said no, I do not want to leave the country. Then, I find my son imprisoned and thrown in a dungeon, while not knowing what do about it. I find my son’s future wasted. Who is something like this going to please? It would not please any parent to see the future of their children being wasted. Another year of my son’s life is lost. Today, he has been detained for a month and a half and they tell me that he may be given forty-five more days. What can I do? Is this lawful or unlawful?
Abu Fadi: When we go the court and stand before the prosecutor, people say to us, “Never mind, orders come from the top”. I would like to say to the prosecutor and to the Minister of Justice, and I would say to all the people, there is no such thing as “orders come from the top”. The one up there (referring to God) is Just, is Just, is Just. Thank you.
Report by Hadir Al-Hudary