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Egypt arrests, forcibly disappears wheelchair user

November 7, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Egyptian prison. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egyptian security forces have arrested an engineer who is confined to a wheelchair and forcibly disappeared him three years after his son was arrested.

The Egyptian Network for Human Rights reported that security forces stormed Mohamed Omar’s home at dawn on 4 November.

Mohamed is the father of student Amr Mohamed and is unable to move without the help of his family and is in constant need of medical care.

In 2019, whilst at a train station with his father, Amr was surrounded by security forces, handcuffed, blindfolded and taken away.

Because he is disabled, Mohamed’s son Amr was his carer and he had to ask other passengers to help him get off the train.

But Mohamed was also arrested, interrogated at a police station and eventually released.

READ: As COP27 approaches, Egypt is concealing rights abuses and environmental issues in Sinai

Hundreds of Egyptians have been arrested in recent weeks in the lead up to COP27 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

At the end of October, prominent human rights lawyer Khalid Ali announced that Egyptians were being rounded up and detained as the government moved to prevent protests ahead of the climate summit.

Amnesty International has said that at least 151 detainees are being investigated by the Supreme State Security Prosecution and hundreds of others have been arrested and questioned for shorter periods of time.

Last week, deputy editor of the state-run Radio and Television Magazine Manal Ajrama, 61, was arrested from her home in Cairo.

Rights advocates have accused the Egyptian government of using the conference, which began yesterday, as an opportunity to greenwash the country’s abysmal human rights record.

The government has publicised the fact that it has released 766 prisoners as part of the National Human Rights Strategy, but rights groups say they have arrested double that number for exercising their right to free speech and association.

Authorities have put in place roadblocks in downtown Cairo and stopped and checked people’s phones for anti-government content.