Investigation of five Mahalla workers begins

Sarah Carr
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The Mahalla public prosecution office Tuesday began investigations into five workers from the Ghazl El-Mahalla spinning factory in connection with the events of April 6.

Gehad Tammam, Mostafa Fawda, Gamal Abul Assad, Kamal El-Fayyoumy, Karim El-Beheiry and Wael Habib are members of the group within the factory which attempted to organize a strike early last month.

Although worker divisions and intense pressure by security bodies led to the collapse of the strike, on the same day protests against rising food prices erupted in Mahalla and were violently contained by security bodies.

One boy, 15-year-old Ali Mubarak, was killed by what rights groups say was live ammunition as he stood in the balcony of his home to watch the clashes in the street below.

El-Fayyoumy and El-Beheiry were arrested separately on April 6.

The two 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.

Shortly after their arrest, they were dismissed from their jobs in the factory.Only Habib attended the investigations Tuesday.

He is charged with various offences under Article 124 of the Egyptian Penal Code, including inciting other public sector employees to go on strike, possession of documents, interrupting work in the factory, and conspiring with others to print documents which led to the events of April 6.

Lawyer Ahmed Ezzat emphasized the political nature of this case.

“This case is clearly political and interference by security bodies restricts the powers and independence of the public prosecution office, Ezzat told Daily News Egypt.

Despite the fact that the questioning ended early afternoon, at 6 pm on Tuesday Habib was still being held at the Mahalla Police Station.

“He’s being held for questioning by state security and we’re not sure when exactly he will be released but we’ve been given a rough time of 8 pm, Ezzat told Daily News Egypt.

Ezzat says that the investigation will continue on Thursday.

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