Egyptians Protest Against Torture and Murder of Prisoner

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October 30, 2011

Egyptians Protest Against Torture and Murder of Prisoner

Jihan Hafiz reports on mass protest demanding accountability for crimes against prisoners

Five thousand Egyptians marched through central Cairo on Monday to protest against the junta’s arrest of a prominent blogger and activist: here. And here.

Top Egypt activists demand an end to military trials, call for day of action: here.

Egyptians Participate in, Examine the Revolution Through Rise of Graffiti: here.

Britain: Social justice campaigners slammed as “unjustifiable” today ministers’ attempts to call in arms deal debts racked up by Egypt’s hated ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak: here.

8 thoughts on “Egyptians Protest Against Torture and Murder of Prisoner

  1. “I never expected to repeat the experience of five years ago: after a revolution that deposed the tyrant, I go back to his jails?

    The memories come back to me, all the details of imprisonment; the skills of sleeping on the floor, nine men in a six-by-12-foot (two-by-four-metre) cell, the songs of prison, the conversations. But I absolutely can’t remember how I used to keep my glasses safe while I slept.

    They have been stepped on three times already today. I suddenly realise they’re the same glasses that were with me in my last imprisonment; the one for supporting the Egyptian judiciary in 2006. And that I am locked up, again pending trial, again on a set of loose and flimsy charges – the one difference is that instead of the state security prosecutor we have the military prosecutor – a change in keeping with the military moment we’re living now.

    Last time my imprisonment was shared with 50 colleagues from the “Kifaya” movement. This time, I’m alone, in a cell with eight men who shouldn’t be here; poor, helpless, unjustly held – the guilty among them and the innocent.

    As soon as they learned I was one of the “young people of the revolution” they started to curse out the revolution and how it had failed to clean up the ministry of the interior. I spend my first two days listening to stories of torture at the hands of a police force that insists on not being reformed; that takes out its defeat on the bodies of the poor and the helpless.

    From their stories I discover the truth of the great achievements of the “return of security” to our streets. Two of my cellmates are first-timers, ordinary young men without an atom of violence in them. And their crime? Armed gangster formations. Yes; Abu Malek alone is an armed gangster formation of one. Now I know what the ministry of the interior means when it regales us every day with news of the discovery and arrest of armed gangsters. We can congratulate ourselves on the return of security.

    In the few hours that sunlight enters the dark cell we read what a past cellmate has inscribed on the walls in an elegant Arabic calligraphy.

    Four walls covered from floor to ceiling in Qur’anic verses and prayers and invocations and reflections. And what reads like a powerful desire to repent.

    Next day we discover, in a low corner, the date of execution of our cellmate of the past. Our tears conquer us.

    The guilty make plans for repentance. What can the innocent do?

    My thoughts wander as I listen to the radio. I hear the speech of the general as he inaugurates the tallest flagpost in the world – which will surely break all records. I wonder: does pushing the name of the martyr Mina Danial as one of those “accused of instigation” in my case break a record in insolence? They must be the first who murder a man and not only walk in his funeral but spit on his body and accuse it of a crime. Or perhaps this cell could break a record in the number of cockroaches in a prison cell? Abu Malek interrupts my thoughts: “I swear by God if this revolution doesn’t do something radical about injustice it will sink without a trace.””

    This article was written by Alaa Abd El Fattah on 1 November 2011 from cell No 19, the Appeals Prison, Bab el-Khalq, Cairo. It is being published in Arabic by the Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk and in English by the Guardian.


  2. Workers at Egyptian textile firm call for re-nationalisation of privatized company

    On October 26, workers at the Shebeen al-Kom Spinning and Weaving Company “cut-off Qasr al-Aini street in downtown Cairo to demand the government implement a court order returning the privatized company to the state,” reported Al Masry Al Youm.

    Central security forces dispersed the demonstrators, “clashing with the protesters who moved back to Qasr al-Aini Street and blocking the flow of traffic.”

    The three companies—El-Nasr Boilers and Pressure Vessels Manufacturing, Tanta Flax and Oil and Misr Shebeen al-Kom Spinning and Weaving—were all sold between 1994 and 2006 to Egyptian and foreign investors at below their actual value.

    In September, the Administrative Judicial Court ordered the re-nationalization of the three companies. The government has refused to carry out the order.

    Bibliotheca Alexandrina workers stage protest

    Over 1,500 workers staged a protest October 26 outside the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, “preventing the director, Ismail Serag Eddin, and other officials from accessing the library and demanding they be sacked,” reported Al-Masry Al-Youm.

    The workers were protesting authority refusals to provide permanent contracts for temporary workers, as well as the firing of 14 workers who oppose the administration’s policies.

    The workers also demanded investigation of “the squandering of public funds and theft of artifacts from the library” and “questioning all directors related to the ousted [Mubarak] regime,” according to a statement issued by the protesters.

    Al-Masry Al-Youm said, “Armored vehicles and army troops were called to intervene after arguments between the protesters and Serag Eddin became heated.”

    Workers also demonstrated in March to depose Serag Eddin, labelling him “one of the figures of the ousted regime.”

    Al-Masry Al-Youm concluded its report with the following: “Mostafa Bakry, a former independent member of parliament, filed a report with the Public Prosecution in March on the rigging of donations to the library, which were transferred to a bank account controlled by ex-first lady Suzanne Mubarak.

    “Serag Eddin denied any knowledge of this bank account, which was found containing US$147 million.”

    Alexandrian flour mill workers threaten strike

    Workers at the Alexandria Flour Mills & Bakeries company (AFMC) have threatened industrial action at the firm’s five branches in Alexandria if their annual bonus is not raised to ten times their wages instead of its current four times, according to Ahram Online, October 27.

    AFMC registered a net profit of LE2.182 million (US$365,000) in the third quarter, a drop of 43 percent on the same period last year.
    Workers at electrical products firm strike for first time since Mubarak’s fall

    On November 1, Ahram Online reported that “around 400 workers at El Sewedy Electric’s factory in 10th of Ramadan City downed tools Tuesday in the first strike at the Middle East’s leading electrical products manufacturer since Egypt’s president was ousted in February.”

    The workers are demanding the payment of bonuses for seasonal occasions.

    “Since the revolution, they have stopped paying us these bonuses although production [during the uprising] was only affected for a very short time,” a member of the factory’s syndicate was quoted by Ahram Online.

    Starting in 2008, the administration began paying workers four instalments of LE500 (US$85)—significantly less than a full month’s wage.

    Between 2008 and 2010, workers held protests to win back the full bonus payments, the equivalent of four months wages in seasonal bonuses paid throughout the year. Since the start of 2011 the company has stopped paying holiday bonuses.

    “Employees are also demanding the removal of the human resource director at their factory, who they hold responsible for laying off 120 employees since February,” said Ahram Online.

    El Sewedy Electric is the leading integrated cables and electrical products maker in the Middle East and according to Ahram Online “the firm posted quarter-on-quarter growth of 11 percent in revenue and 19 percent in pre-tax earnings for the second quarter of 2011.

    “According to figures published on Egypt’s stock exchange web site, El Sewedy profits grew 29 percent between 2009 and 2010 to reach LE816.6 million [US$136.8 million].”


    Call for general strike over Israeli contract workers

    Histadrut, the General Federation of Labour in Israel, has renewed its threat to call a general strike over contract workers, after what its calls Ministry of Finance “backtracking” in negotiations, according to Globes online, October 30.

    According to Histadrut sources, last month, the ministry had agreed in principle to hire some contract workers by the public sector, including cleaners, but then reversed this decision and said instead that it would only “improve their terms.”


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