Sunday, June 20, 2010

Egyptian Security caught off guard, use excessive force against anti-torture march

مداهمة الأمن المصري ، واستخدام القوة المفرطة ضد المشاركين في مسيرة ضد التعذيب

Security agents were caught completely off guard when an anti-torture protest in downtown Cairo re-located from the completely police besieged Tahrir Square to a march that started at the nearby Bab el-Luq square. The march that started with approximately 50 protesters increased to 200-250 people. Security agents and plain clothes police started arriving at the scene and followed the march on either side of the road. Marchers were chanting "down with Husni Mubarak" and "look, here are the youth of Egypt."

فوجئ رجال الامن تماما عندما غيرت مظاهرة مناهضة للتعذيب موقعها من ميدان التحرير المحاصر تماما من قبل قوات الشرطة و تحولت إلى مسيرة بدأت من ميدان باب.اللوق. المسيرة التي بدأت بنحو 50 متظاهرا وصل عددهم إلى 200-250 شخص. بدأ ورجال الأمن وشرطة يرتدون ملابس مدنية الوصول الى مكان المظاهرة وتابعوا المسيرة من على جانبي الطريق. المتظاهرون كانوا يهتفون "فليسقط حسني مبارك" و "انظروا، ها هم شباب مصر"
توقفت السيارات للسماح للمشاركين في المسيرة بالمرور وهم يهتفون "حرية ، حرية".

Cars stopped to let marchers chanting "freedom, freedom" pass by... drivers often clapped and chanted along.

صفق السائقين في كثير من الأحيان ورددوا الهتافات.

Egyptian security started arriving en mass @:22 (in final video), blocking the road ahead of the march with trucks and police. They started surrounding part of the group, then picking protesters out of the crowd one-by-one. The protesters replied with chants "we are not afraid, we are not afraid" @01:52

بدأت قوات الأمن المصرية بالوصول في مجموعات كبيرة @ : 22 (في الفيديو الاخير) ، و سدت الطريق أمام المسيرة بشاحنات كبيرة ورجال الشرطة. وبدأوا يطوقون اجزاء من المجموعة ، ثم بدأوا في التقاط المتظاهرين من الحشد واحد تلو الاخر و رد المتظاهرون بهتافات "لسنا خائفين ، ونحن لسنا خائفين" @ 01:52

Both police and plain clothes security agents started using excessive force. @04:25 you will see an unidentifiable protester or protesters getting crushed under severe blows of policemen. @02:42 security try to cordone off a large section of protesters. Security agents tried to get everyone to stop filming and taking pictures @4:00. @4:50 plain clothes security picked one person off the sidewalk next to me, @5:30 another is taken.

بدأت كل من رجال الشرطة ورجال الأمن بملابس مدنية باستخدام القوة المفرطة. @ 04:25 سترون متظاهر او بعض المتظاهرين غيرمغروف هويتهم يسحقون تحت ضربات شديدة من قبل رجال الشرطة. @ 02:42 يحاول رجال الأمن تطويق جزء كبير من المتظاهرين. و حاولوا منع التصويروالتقاط الصور @ 04:00. @ 4:50 التقط رجال الأمن بالملابس المدنية شخص واحد من الرصيف المجاور لي ، @ 05:30 قبض علي آخر.

Trying to film as much as possible without getting my phone or my self confiscated I was suddenly attacked by this massive policeman @6:35 who yelled "don't film boy" and hit me in the face, then kicked me as I picked up the phone and managed to escape.. the phone kept filming.

احاول التصويرلاطول فترة ممكنة دون مصادرة هاتفي أو يقبضوا علي و فجأة تعرضت لهجوم من قبل شرطي ضخم @ 6:35 و الذي صاح "لا تصوير يا ولد" وضربني في وجهي ، ثم ركلني وأنا احاول التقاط هاتفي وتمكنت من الفرار.. ظل الهاتف يصور.

This is the violence of the decaying police state apparatus that Egyptians get to witness on our streets. What you don't see behind the closed doors of the torture chambers of police stations and ministry of interior holding stations, is much worse still.

The latest resports (via Ramy Raoof) are that 55 protesters were disappeared, by 21:00 most of these were released. Abdelqader is reporting that security agents are leaving protesters stranded on the road in the faraway new Cairo suburbs.

At sundown protesters continue their chants calling for the release of all fellow marchers

By 21:00 security agents release all kidnapped protesters (though money, ids stolen), for today the protests come to an end.

Egyptian police state apparatus down

هذا هو عنف الدولة البوليسية المتدهورة الذي يشهده المصريين في شوارعنا.و ما لا تراه خلف ألابواب المغلقة من غرف التعذيب في مراكز الشرطة ومراكزالاحتجازفي وزارة الداخلية ، مازال أسوأ بكثير 

آخر التقارير (عن طريق رامي رؤوف) هي اختفتاء 55 المتظاهرين ، أفرج عن معظمهم في الساعة 21:00 .

قدم عبد القادر تقرير ان رجال الامن تركوا الماظاهرين على الطريق في ضواحي القاهرة الجديدة 

عند غروب شمس واصل المتظاهرون الهتافات للأفراج عن جميع المحتجزين من المشاركين في المسيرة

 و في الساعة 21:00 قام رجال الامن باطلاق سراح جميع المتظاهرين المختطفين (على الرغم من سرقة ما معهم من مال، وهوياتهم )

، لهذا اليوم وصلت المظاهرات نهايتها.

أجهزة شرطة الدولة المصرية 00:01

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Witnesses Speak out on security agents cold-blooded murder of Khaled Said

Translation provided by Z:

Statements and responses to what was publicized by the Governmental media about Khaled Saeed.
Released and authenticated by Mohamed Abd el Fattah
My Name is Shafik Galal Kamal from Sidi Gaber and was Khaleds friend
We were sitting in the cyber cafe and two police informants came in and wanted to frisk him
Khaled didn’t like the way they were conducting the search and asked them why they wanted to frisk us
They started beating on him and dragged him to the building entrance next door and they kept banging his head on the stair rod and continued beating him for another 20 minutes then they took him away and came back after 15min, we found Khaled dead.they called the ambulance which came and picked him up. And that’s all that happened.

The mother of one of khaleds friends:
A young man sitting in a cyber cafe and all he did was ask them “why are you frisking us” , “what did we do??”
They take him and beat him to death in the building next to the cyber cafe??!!! They take him away and when they found out he was dead they bring him back , dump his body in front of the cyber cafe then call the ambulance to pick him up??!!!!

And then they take him in a taxi all the way to the police station...when they find out he was dead they bring him back to the cyber cafe and dump his body in the street ..then they get out guns and threaten; anyone who comes close will be shot then they call the ambulance and leave....
How is this possible???!!
Then they are released...released!!!! how come???
Shafik khaleds friend:
They said he had a roll of weed ...and there wasn’t any..
They said he was a drug dealer...and he is not
He is a descent man, he has an import and export office and had lived in the united states.
That’s all what happened.
None of what they stated afterwards happened.
And if I would be requested to testify in court I will.

The mother of one of khaleds friends:
The one who died was my sons friend.
He neither took nor dealt in drugs.

They said he used drugs ...i swear its all lies...its all lies
He doesn’t use anything...he is a descent man

Abu el Ezz El Hariri – Former member of the parliament – Karmouz district
Someone who supposedly died of asphyxia, what broke his bones and his ribs??
shattered his face and skull???
It’s a bigger issue, no need for deception

Pick up anyone off the street and kill them.....the emergency law..
Accuse him of using and selling drugs...a convicted criminal....this is the emergency law..

The mother of one of khaleds friends:
Young man after the other are murdered and no one gets their rights in this country.....i swear
If this were the son of a government official...this would have never had happened
They are drug addicts and far worse and nothing ever happens to them
They only do this to the helpless...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

UPDATE: Violent Crackdown at Ministry of Interior Protest

it is 17:54 in cairo, protest started as planned at 17:00 in front of the ministry of interior to protest the brutal murder of Khaled Said at the hands of security force officers last week and ongoing usage of torture in Egypt

follow here and here for live video feed updates

Arabawy's last feed:

reports over twitter that many arrests have been made, the police force according to Arabawy is lead by officer Hisham el-Iraqi.

The approx 200 protestors are now encircled and the police force is closing in on them

Security forces arrested lawyer Malek Adly from Hisham Mubarak, Emad Mubarak (then released again by 18:12 according to RamyRaoof), Mohamed Waked, Ashraf Omar, Shadi and Hani el-hosseiny
Islam Al-Zanaty, Mohamed Nowar (according to ielsakka)

latest kidnapped activists reported by Emad Mubarak at 18:40:
Ahmed Badawy, Hosam Al-Sayad, Amr Ali, Nour Ayman Nour, Ali Hassan, Mostafa el-hosseiny, Samir Girgis and confirming Islam AL-Zenaty

According to RamyRaoof by 18:00 security forces had arrested 20 activists this number raised to estimates between 25 (RamyRaoof) and 60 by 18:25 (according hossam_karama)

Activists urgently calling for water supplies

Those leaving the protest are promised to go free and then arrested once outside of the cricle (Arabawy)

Ayman Nour reported to be in hospital according to btnafas7oria

Despite police brutality and kidnapping, protesters standing strong

We say NO to torture

At 19:30 demonstrators negotiations with security fail. Demonstrators won't leave till detainees are released via SarahCarr

urgent update 19:55:
security forces kidnap blogger-activist hossam el-hamalawy, ahmed kheir

update via ramyraoof:
new names:
rasha azb-ahmed kheir-malek mostafa-yehia sami-hassan hamdan-mohamed ansari-fouad fawaz-mohamed hosny-maikel nabil- mamdoh safwt

latest via SarahCarr:
security releasing people one by one, kidnapping those wanted

latest image from the scene

at 21:05 security forces are releasing the protesters two by two, only a small group left surrounded

at 21:10 blogger hossam el-hamalawy picked up at hospital and TravellweW taking him home.

Protest taking place at High Court for those kidnapped

Joining the protest now

Responding to the Lies of a Crumbling State

A response from the Nadeem Center to the Ministry of Interior's statement on the Murder of Khaled Said:

We shall not back down as long as you don't

On the 12th of June 2010 the department of media and public relations of the Egyptian ministry of interior issued a statement denying the content of the testimonies of eyewitnesses as well as reports by human rights organizations regarding the killing of Khaled Said in Alexandria, accusing those statement of inaccuracy, flagrant falsification, and crossing the line in dissemination of lies etc. the following is our reply:

The statement by the MOI refers to "certain elements and circles": We are not "elements" or "certain circles". We are human rights organizations which will not stop to monitor and expose each and every violation committed by the MOI, as well as its violation of rights, the law, the constitution and international conventions ratified by the Egyptian government to boast the international community, while it exercises all forms of humiliation and oppression against Egyptians, men and women, every day in each police station, security office, and detention center. Our names are known, our addresses are known and our statements are public.

MOI refers to "two police staff from the investigation unit at sidi Gaber police station in Alexandria who, while observing the security situation on the 7th of the current month in one of the streets of Cleopatra district, saw the convict/ Khaled Mohamed Said Sobhi accompanied by one of his friends; and when they approached to arrest him…" Why did the police informers go to arrest Khaled. Did they have an arrest warrant. If it is true, as claimed by the MOI, that Khaled was wanted for two court sentences, why didn’t an official police force in uniform go to his house and arrest him from there, after showing the arrest warrant and the alleged court sentences?

Why couldn't Khaled swallow the wrapped narcotics found in his throat, which MOI claims has resulted in his death of asphyxia? Could it be that this pack of narcotics was forcefully stuffed down his throat after he was dead, so he failed to swallow it, since, as we all know, the dead can not swallow? Is that what the MOI did in those ten minutes during which Khaled was taken away in a police car and then returned to the spot where he was beaten to death? How could Khaled, with a throat stuffed with that alleged narcotic pack scream "I am dying" while the informers were hitting his head against the marble of the stairs?

More questions to pose:

What were the chief investigation officer of Sidi Gaber police station and the director of Alexandria investigation department doing at the office of the prosecution yesterday, moving around freely from one prosecutor's office to the other, while an important eye witness had to wait for four whole hours in front of that same office, uselessly waiting for his testimony to be taken by a prosecutor who said "he did not have the time"?

How can the prosecutor claim, as a law and not medical graduate, that the fractures and disfigurements of Khaled's face and head were the result of autopsy? What was the forensic department looking for that necessitated a fracture of the skull, a dislocation of the jaw and the excessive bleeding? Were they looking for the narcotics inside his skull although MOI claimed it was stuck in his trachea?

Why did the public prosecutor issue a circular banning the photocopying of Khaled's file by the lawyers who had to go through the file and take hurried notes?

How does MOI and the prosecution refer to a forensic report that has not yet been issued and was nowhere to be found inside the file?

The MOI statement says that "the police authorities are committed to the law and human rights principles within the framework of the state's policy".. and we are committed to change that state's police which at the UN human rights council rejected the ratification of the optional protocol of CAT as well as a mechanism which allows for indirect individual complaints to the UN, thereby securing its immunity and complacency of the prosecution which seeks to protect the perpetrators of torture.

The MOI statement then concluded that it will not "back down no matter how much the allegations". Nor shall we, no matter how much MOI spread their lies and terror. We shall continue to expose crimes of torture, reach out for the victims, provide legal, psychological and media support as well as all other forms of support until the torturers are brought to justice.. As long as there is no public apology.. as long as there is torture.. as long as the perpetrators are not brought to justice.. we shall not back down

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Egypt: Torture as the Norm

Over the past few months I have been working on a video project about torture, so when I heard about the public beating and murder of 28-year old Khaled Sayed Thursday night it came as no surprise. According to blogger Mfatta7, Khaled had either filmed or obtained a video that reveals a number of police officers involved in a drug deal. This is the video provided by his sister:

Once again to most Egyptians neither the police involvement in drug dealing, nor security forces' use of torture for a personal vendetta comes as a surprise. And yet, this time there is an outrage that started on the streets of Alexandria and has spread around the country because the act was done so blatantly... and the news and images have spread online. On Sunday June 6 security agents sought to carry out a random search of the internet cafe Khaled was in. Following Egypt's emergency law amendments such random searches are not legal and he refused. Consequently he was beaten to death, his body was taken to a nearby police station and according to the man's uncle, Khaled's body was later thrown in front of his home

Meanwhile there is an Egyptian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council trying to whitewash the Egyptian governments image on torture and other rights violations. Reporting from Geneva, Hosam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights told Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that, the government had pledged to "revisit the articles identifying torture in the penal code." The representatives furthermore promised to set up an "institutional mechanism" to follow up on the commitments made to the council. A similar mechanism the government set up to assess minimum wage needs in 2003 failed to ever meet, much less implement any changes. Aida Seif-Aldawla from the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence told AP, "we live in a country where there is absolutely no law. We want the sacking and trial of the head of the police."

So while government officials bullshit their way through UN apparatuses...

join us at a protest at the Ministry of Interior at 5pm Sunday

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Egyptian Shura Council Elections Masquerade

I was rudely awoken this morning at 9:30... "are you following the news?" I heard... the only "news" I could think of, was that I was still reeling from the Israeli massacre on the Gaza flotilla yesterday and editing till 3:30am...

Shortly thereafter I found myself in a taxi heading to Nadeem Center to meet up with Haitham to follow the chaos of Egyptian elections for the Council of Ministers. Personally, I have no experience in life that has made me have any in faith in electoral processes.

My taxi driver- 62 years old- told me he didn't have an election ID, nor did he ever have one, nor has he ever known anyone who has an election ID- and he has many relatives, five brothers and over 50 nephews- except for one: a brother-in-law, but he died.

So I ended up in Helwan and this is what I saw:

These voters tried to storm the polling station because they were prevented from voting.

When people asked for the rules, it turns out security were in the wrong and everyone there is was permitted to vote using their nation ID:

But it didn't matter. They weren't allowed in anyway.

They made up a new rule that says unless you have the little red card, you don't get in to vote. So in this last station in a district with 12,000 registered voters, only five entered the polling station to cast their vote, all of them NDP members.

This man is saying (paraphrased)... we live in shitty conditions here, our children can't find jobs, if you would see the poverty we live in, we want change, so we came to vote for it...

And so like anybody would these people held a protest:

I am no fan of organized religion, but I would be in that crowd too, did I not believe in elections to begin with.

Change will come from below.

Irish Boat the MV Rachel Corrie proceeding to Gaza #flotilla


I received the following message from a member of the Belfast Palestine Solidarity Committee which has received word from the Free Gaza Movement that those aboard the Irish vessel "Rachel Corrie" have decided to proceed to Gaza. A full press release is expected shortly.

Niamh Moloughney of the Free Gaza Movement has just sent the following message :

>> Ok just got word from Derek,
>> they have all agreed to take the Rachel Corrie to Gaza as intended,
>> she's 2 days away, it's a Malaysian & Irish partnership
>> on board we have Denis Halliday, Mairead Maguire, Derek & Jenny Graham, Fiona Thompson (film)
>> and Mathias Chang human rights lawyer, Malaysian MP & media - bios attached
>> The Malaysians are serious contenders- they are very close to their government & have FULL support.
>> We have 2 days to turn this outrage into a victory & get the Rachel Corrie into Gaza with the support of the world
>> and open this sea route.
>> Will get press release together when I finish work - hopefully can stay awake!
>> all the best,
>> Niamh

It's vital that we now give full support to this ship reaching Gaza.

and here the "weapons" found aboard the Marmara where Israeli soldiers massacred 19 activists: