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Politically involved students ‘forcibly’ disappeared

Ministry of Interior spokesperson denies the arrests


Student groups say that security forces forcibly “kidnap” students and claim that police in plainclothes fight along security forces during clashes with students.  Forced disappearances have seen a general rise over the past two years.  (Photo by Gehad Abaza)
Student groups say that security forces forcibly “kidnap” students and claim that police in plainclothes fight along security forces during clashes with students. Forced disappearances have seen a general rise over the past two years.
(Photo by Gehad Abaza)

Security forces arrested several students involved in political activities, including the 6 April Youth Movement and Students Against the Coup (SAC), on Sunday, both groups said.

At least two students, Abdallah Al-Mahdi and Ahmed Khatab, from SAC and 6 April, would have been forcibly disappeared.

A Ministry of Interior spokesperson denied news of the arrests, adding that the security apparatus only arrests people when they have an order from the prosecution or from a judiciary force to do so.

Al-Mahdi would have been arrested in what amounted to a forced disappearance on Sunday at noon, and his whereabouts are still unknown, stated the anti-government student group Students Against the Coup.

Al-Mahdi’s brother, 21-year-old Anas Al-Mahdi died on 16 May due to a brain haemorrhage, after security officers at Cairo University beat him on the head during clashes with students on 19 April.

According to the 6 April Youth Movement, Sunday marked an “arrest campaign”, as security forces arrested a handful of the movement’s members in Cairo and Alexandria. Most were arrested from their homes at dawn, the movement said.

Khatab, a 6 April student leader, also disappeared. Security forces would have arrested the student on Sunday at dawn and until now his family and friends have no knowledge of his whereabouts, according to 6 April.

Amal Sharaf, a spokesperson for 6 April, said that Khatab’s brother was also arrested on Monday. Security forces also arrested another member, Dalia Radwan, from Alexandria on Sunday, she added.

According to the 6 April Youth Movement, Sunday marked an “arrest campaign”, as security forces arrested a handful of the movement’s members in Cairo and Alexandria. Most were arrested from their homes at dawn, the movement said.

“We kind of expected that a lot of people might get arrested before our strike,” Sharaf said.

The 6 April movement has planned for protest action on 6 June under the title “And what is the end of it?” The action comes in the context of what movement spokespeople say are worsening conditions in increasing arrest rates and decreasing rights.

Last April, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled to ban 6 April for “espionage” and “activities that distort Egypt’s image”.

The ministry spokesperson denied that police target any movements or groups regardless of political backgrounds or inclinations.

Enforced disappearances, without registration in prison records, have seen a rise over the past year.

Activists refer to enforced disappearances as “kidnappings” perpetrated by the Ministry of Interior. Families and lawyers cannot report the “kidnappings” to the Prosecutor General’s office, because the detainees remain unregistered.

Ahmed Ghoneim, a former SAC spokesperson, also disappeared, and his whereabouts have been unknown for almost a month. He is the fourth movement spokesperson to be taken forcibly, the group said.

According to various rights groups, including Amnesty International, this tactic allows for police forces to torture the detainees to extract confessions.

According to a recent Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) report, security forces have killed at least 21 students inside university campuses over the past two academic years. Hundreds of students have been arrested or forcibly disappeared.

 

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https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/06/01/politically-involved-students-forcibly-disappeared/
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