April 6 Mahalla detainees go on hunger strike

Sarah Carr
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Three former employees of the Ghazl El-Mahalla spinning factory have launched a second, open-ended, hunger strike in protest against their detention.

Kamal El-Fayyoumy, Tareq Amin and Karim El-Beheiry 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.In a letter sent to the head of the Judges’ Club last week, the men announced that they are on hunger strike, and called for a public prosecution office investigation into why they are being held without charge over a month after their arrest.

El-Fayyoumy, Amin and El-Beheiry were dismissed from their employment in the factory shortly after their arrest

Lawyer Ahmed Ezzat visited the men on Saturday with three other lawyers from a group formed to assist individuals detained in connection with the events of April 6.

He told Daily News Egypt that the three men have decided to launch a second, open-ended, hunger strike to protest their illegal detention and summary dismissal from the factory.

“Sacking workers involved in labor organizing is a common tool used by the authorities in order to make it impossible for them to pursue these activities without a source of income, Ezzat explained.

Mohamed Marei, a translator who was arrested in Mahalla with American national James Buck on April 10, is also being held in Borg El-Arab prison without charge.

Buck was released the day after the Mahalla public prosecution office ordered that both men be released.

Ezzat says that Marei has been moved to a different prison wing.

“Prison authorities have finally agreed to requests that he be held with political prisoners rather than convicted criminals and he has been moved, Ezzat told Daily News Egypt.

Under Egyptian law political detainees are meant to be separated from those convicted of ordinary criminal offenses.

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Sarah Carr is a British-Egyptian journalist in Cairo. She blogs at www.inanities.org.
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