CAIRO: Shadi Tarek Al-Ghazaly Harb, former member of the Democratic Front Party and assistant medical professor at Cairo University was released on Wednesday by Egyptian authorities after around 30 hours of detention.
“They dropped him off at the airport where he was abducted. He said he was blind-folded during the detention, so he couldn’t see where he was or who was interrogating him,” Dr. Tarek Harb, Shadi’s father, told Daily News Egypt.
Shadi was about to take a flight to Ireland to sit for his fellowship exams at the Royal College of surgeons, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, when he disappeared at the airport.
The last his family heard from him was before he entered the passport control unit at the airport.
According to Tarek Harb, Shadi’s phone was turned off. For around two hours his family didn’t even know whether or not he had boarded his 8.30 am flight.
“Finally an employee at British Airways told us that his name had been checked off the list of boarding passengers around 15 minutes before the plane took off, but he didn’t know who cancelled his name or why,” Harb told Daily News Egypt.
Airport security said they had no knowledge of Shadi’s abduction or his whereabouts.
Shadi, nephew of the founder and leader of the Democratic Front Party, Osama Al-Ghazaly Harb, was a member of his uncle’s party when it was first established but due to his frequent travels, his membership was frozen.
He has been studying and working in England for two and half years and only arrived to Cairo around a month ago.
Tarek Harb believes his son’s friendship with Amr Salah, researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and activist Ahmed Eid, were the reason behind his disappearance.
Salah and Eid were also abducted last week by plain-clothed men who described themselves to eyewitnesses as “members of Egyptian security”. They were released on Friday.
They were not charged with any crime and were not given any explanation for their detainment, raising wide speculation that Shadi was abducted by State Security police in the same manner.
“The way he disappeared has State Security written all over it. Amr Salah and Ahmed Eid disappeared the same way before. Anything is possible now under the emergency law,” Tarek Harb told Daily News Egypt.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said in a statement issued on Tuesday that the secrecy and vagueness surrounding the disappearance of activists lately indicates that an authority higher than Egypt’s State Security Intelligence is behind these incidents.
“After the recent launch of a campaign supporting Omar Suleiman [Egypt’s intelligence chief] as the next Egyptian president and based on things we’ve heard, we believe that Egyptian intelligence might be behind these abductions,” ANHRI director Gamal Eid told Daily News Egypt.
Earlier this month, a group of unknown activists put up posters around Cairo supporting Egypt’s intelligence chief as a possible candidate in next year’s presidential elections.
Newspapers reporting on the campaign were confiscated before they appeared on newsstands and a police investigation into the identity of those behind the poster campaign ensued.
No public announcements on the results of the probe have yet been made.