Labour rights lawyer Haitham Mohamedein and Sinai-based journalist Ahmed Abu Draa were arrested on Thursday,in two separate incidents, amid loud calls for solidarity.
Mohamedein, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists’ political bureau and labour rights lawyer who also works at El Nadeem Centre for Psychological Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, was arrested outside the city of Suez where he was going to meet with labour representatives.
A statement by the Revolutionary Socialists detailing the arrest said, Mohamedein was going to Suez by bus. When the bus got stopped at a military checkpoint, Mohamedein was individually taken off the bus and searched. His belongings were confiscated and he was held at the checkpoint, before being moved to a police station.
A delegation of human rights lawyers has reached the police station where Mohamedein is currently held. Investigations are set to begin shortly.
Human rights group Front Line Defenders said in a statement that it is “concerned at the arbitrary arrest of Haitham Mohamadein in the light of the indications that he is specifically targeted as a result of his human rights activities…”
The Revolutionary Socialists demanded the immediate release of Mohamedein, describing his arrest as “a clear statement of the beginning of a phase that targets revolutionary youth who have stands against military rule…” The group is also calling for a protest outside the prosecutor general’s office on Saturday to demand Mohamedein’s release.
In a recent television interview, Mohamedein voiced strong criticism of the military.
In another arrest incident on Thursday, Al-Masry Al-Youm and ONTV journalist Ahmed Abu Draa was arrested. Military prosecution in Ismailia ordered his detention for 15 days after he was charged with publishing false information about the military.
The Media Practitioners’ Union in Sinai held an urgent meeting on Thursday. In a statement, the union said it received the news of Abu Draa’s arrest with “rage.”
“In the light of the mysterious position from officials on our arrested colleague, we demand his immediate release,” the union said.
It called on the Press Syndicate to intervene as well as Defence Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The union also called on journalists to protest outside the Press Syndicate to show solidarity with Abu Draa.
Al-Dostour Party said in a statement that it is very concerned with Abu Draa’s arrest adding that “it rejects referring civilians to military courts….”