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A week of politically motivated arrests in Egypt

Researcher Abdo Fayed
Political researcher Abdo Fayed before he went missing in Egypt, 27 May 2020 [Twitter]

A political researcher specialising in international relations has been arrested in the middle of the night and forcibly disappeared from his home in Giza.

His family have said they tried to send telegrams to the attorney general to locate Abdo Fayed but have heard nothing until now.

According to other social media users, Abdo Fayed had made a number of comments on the situation of doctors in Egypt, who have reported they do not have full access to PPE, isolation beds and are being dismissed and threatened if they complain.

Abdo was arrested at the same time as pharmacist Mohamed Helmy Goda, 36, was taken from his apartment in Faisal and also forcibly disappeared until now, according to the Freedom Twitter account, which advocates the rights of political prisoners.

It has also been reported that Neveen William, who administered the Facebook group “No to the Suez road toll”, has been arrested.

At the beginning of May, the National Road Company of the Egyptian Army began collecting road tolls on the Cairo-Suez Desert Road which generated anger among the residents of several luxury housing complexes which had to pass through it to leave or return home.

READ: Mohammed Ghamry becomes 8th Egyptian to die in detention this month

On top of the fact that they face a corrupt justice system in Egypt, where prisoners are tried in mass trials, held on pretrial detention and systematically tortured, the families of the arrested have to contend with the added worry of the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the covid crisis family members and experts have called on the Egyptian regime to release political prisoners to ease overcrowding in fear the virus would easily spread among prisoners.

Detainees in Egypt are kept in tiny cells many times over their capacity and are forced to share hygiene tools. They are regularly denied medical attention.

Earlier this week Mohammed Khater Gamry became the eighth Egyptian to die in detention this month after prison authorities failed to tend to his high temperature. Rights groups have warned that other detainees are displaying similar symptoms.

The Egyptian president pardoned some 3,000 prisoners on Eid, but did not include political prisoners on the list. Among those released was the former policeman Mohsen Al-Sukkari who killed a Lebanese pop singer in 2008 on the orders of business mogul Hisham Talaat Mustafa.

In a separate incident, Egyptian journalist Hassan Al-Banna Mubarak has just been released after 29 months of pretrial detention and no evidence presented against him.

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