CAIRO: On Saturday, two groups of detainees from earlier demonstrations saw their time in prison extended. A group of activists detained in April and another group detained two weeks ago both had another 15 days slapped on them. The acclaimed blogger, Alaa, was amongst the second group.
“I don’t expect him to get out on Saturday, his wife and other half of www.manalaa.net, said, Friday. “I don’t want to think about him getting out by a certain date because then if he doesn’t then I have to keep waiting . this way I get to have him back when he gets out and I am not worrying.
This is the third extension for the first group, who were arrested April 24, while demonstrating in solidarity for the judges and against the Emergency Law.
According to the Emergency Law, people may be arrested for a period of 15 days with a second 15 day extension if the government chooses to ask for one. The third extension has shocked many activists who felt that they would be released this coming week.
“I have been told that they will be in prison for another 15 days, says Salma Nyew, a young activist in close contact with the detainees at Tora prison, where the activists are being held.
“But with this Thursday being the big day for activism and the opposition here in Egypt, it isn’t surprising that they would hold them longer, she continues. “They don’t want more people on the streets if they [can] help it.
On Thursday, Kefaya (Enough) and other opposition groups and parties are expected to take to the streets in order to demonstrate against last May’s referendum that allowed for multiple candidate elections.
“We are going to show Egypt that they cannot keep lying to us about their reforms, says George Ishaq, head and coordinator of the opposition movement Kefaya.
Last May 25th saw massive protests in opposition against the referendum, in which they argued that it was a ploy by the government to deflect from the real issues at hand. It was also a day that saw demonstrators beaten and female journalists sexually abused.
“There is no new wing of the NDP, Ishaq argues. “They are just the same party with new faces.
Ishaq says that on Thursday they will take to the streets and call for a nationwide boycott.
“People are showing that they are against the regime, he argues. “They are showing their vision for the future of Egypt.
Abir Al Askary, a reporter from Al-Destour, has become the symbol of the opposition, as she was victim to state security abuses on the day of the referendum.
The United States and the European Union have called on Egypt to release the activists. The Egyptian government has vehemently said they oppose international intervention and denied any wrongdoing.