CAIRO: Members of the Kefaya Movement for Change held a press conference at the Journalists’ Syndicate on Thursday to protest the detention of Director-General of Kefaya George Ishaq.
Ishaq was arrested at his home Wednesday evening along with at least 50 other members of the group in the wake of the April 6 strike, which saw eruptions of violence and mass arrests in the Delta city of Mahalla.
Kefaya participated in the nationwide strike protesting price hikes.
Ishaq is being charged with “organizing and managing a mass gathering according to lawyer Ahmed Seif El-Islam of the Hisham Mubarak Center for Human Rights.
Editor-in-chief of Al-Shaab newspaper Magdy Hussein said the arrests were an indication of “the dirtiness of the regime as well as its spinelessness.
Since the strike, more than 300 people have been charged, according to Seif El-Islam “and further campaigns of arrests against Kefaya coordinators in the governorates are highly likely.
One of the founding members of Kefaya, Abdel-Halim Qandeel heavily criticized the regime as well as the Muslim Brotherhood over the strike.
“[President Hosni] Mubarak’s rule is illegitimate, he said, and “the Muslim Brotherhood’s policy towards the strike was not a good one. We urge the Muslim Brotherhood to reconsider their tribal policies, which place the Brotherhood above the people. We call on them to have an open dialogue.
“They want to isolate themselves into a private political arena, Qandeel continued, “the success of the strike was a double blow to the arrogance of the Brotherhood and the arrogance of the regime.
Seif El-Islam bemoaned the prosecution offices’ attempts to place obstacles in front of the lawyers representing detainees, stating that lawyers were not informed where the interrogation of 358 detained Mahalla workers was taking place.
“Dealing with the time and place of the questioning as if it is a military secret deprives workers from their right to have a lawyer present, he said.
Ishaq’s initial questioning at State Security was also carried out with no lawyers present, said Seif El-Islam. All the prosecution offices involved have been given the same powers as State Security offices so the detainees are being held for 15 days without charge instead of the customary four days, he added.
Another member of Kefaya, Abdel-Khalek Farouk, said, “Egypt is being eaten from the inside and is being kept in check from the outside. Egypt’s regional role has turned into a curtain for not only the United States but for the Saudi royal family and Israel.
“We call on the Egyptian people to go on a widespread protest and we shall be at the forefront of this, Farouk added.