CAIRO: In a protest organized by the freedoms’ committee of the Journalists’ Syndicate, activists called Saturday for the release of individuals still imprisoned without charge over a month after they were detained during the events which took place in Mahalla on April 6.
Kamal El-Fayyoumy, Tareq Amin and Karim El-Beheiry, employees of the Ghazl El-Mahalla spinning factory, were arrested separately on April 6.
All three were involved in the organization of a strike in the factory planned for the same day, which collapsed following worker disunity and intimidation by security bodies.
Violence subsequently erupted in the Delta town after security bodies clashed with residents protesting increasing food prices.
The three men are currently being held in Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Prison where they are on hunger strike in protest at the failure of prison authorities to inform them why they are being held without charge.
The men allege that they were tortured in Mahalla’s state security headquarters.
Protestors chanted slogans condemning the political detention of the men and held up placards calling for their immediate release.
During the protest, activist Kamal Khalil read out a letter from El-Fayyoumy, Amin and El-Beheiry, sent from Borg El-Arab prison and addressed to Zakareya Abdel Aziz, head of the Egyptian Judges’ Club.
In the letter, the men refute newspaper reports that they have been transferred to hospital after a deterioration of their health caused by the hunger strike.
“The truth is that we are still in prison after the administration refused to call an ambulance to take us to hospital, and as a result of the inability of Karim El-Beheiry and Tareq Amin to stand on their feet – because of their extreme weakness, the letter reads.
“Instead, a nurse was summoned to examine Karim, whose condition has seriously deteriorated, it continues.
The letter also describes the circumstances of the men’s arrest, torture and illegal detention.
“We were tortured in the state security headquarters in Mahalla on April 6, 7 and 8, the letter says.
“Officers tortured Karim using electricity while Tareq Amin and Kamal El-Fayyoumy were insulted verbally and physically assaulted,
“We then spent 11 days in Borg El-Arab Prison in a cell with individuals with criminal convictions. When the Tanta court ordered that we be released we were held for four days in the El-Salam police station situated between Mahalla and Tanta before we were taken to Borg El-Arab prison were we began our hunger strike.
The men say in the letter that they will continue the hunger strike until they are informed of the reason for their detention.
“We would like to know the reason why we remain in detention. We will continue the hunger strike until we either die or receive this information.
Demonstrators also expressed solidarity with three other men currently in detention without charge, activists Samy Francis and Fathy Hefnawy and blogger Mosaad Abu Fagr.
It was announced during the demonstration that another protest will be held Monday, at 5 pm outside the People’s Assembly against the anti-terrorism law currently being drafted.