By Marina Makary
Security forces in Alexandria arrested Ashraf Al-Shimy, a leading member in the Socialist Popular Alliance Party’s (SPAP) Alexandria branch Monday morning, with “no legal support” for doing so.
“We do not know why he was taken,” said lawyer Anas Sayed, a lawyer following-up on the case of SPAP member Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh’s killing. According to the party’s official Facebook page, police raided Al-Shimi’s home, searched his house, and “insulted his wife and sons”, then arrested him and took him to the police station.
Al-Shimy’s case is not the first in a series of crackdowns by the police on the party and its members. Police recently stormed the party’s headquarters in Alexandria, destroying its contents, arresting two party members and releasing them hours later. Vice-President of the SPAP, Zohdy El-Shamy, was also accused by prosecution authorities of killing Al-Sabbagh.
Alexandria-born SPAP member Al-Sabbagh was shot dead during a peaceful march in Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo on 24 January this year. Al-Sabbagh’s killing stirred public controversy, and both the party and eyewitnesses accused the police of the killing.
After a media gag was imposed on the case for several days, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat officially stated that a police officer fired birdshots on 32-year-old Al-Sabbagh, killing her.