Socialist Worker

Police release Egyptian activists

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2347

Egyptian activists were arrested, beaten then freed after they protested at the arrest of protesters last Saturday. 

Police in the city of Alexandria abused and beat the group of 13 activists, who included lawyers, in El-Raml police station. 

The group had gone to the police station to represent protesters brought there by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The Brotherhood members were demanding the protesters be arrested after a demonstration outside their office in Sidi Gaber.

Demonstrations have taken place at Brotherhood offices across Egypt against president Mohamed Mursi.

Station

One of those arrested in the police station was lawyer Mahienour El-Massry, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist (RS) group. She spoke to Socialist Worker after her release.

“People—including a journalist, a member of the bus workers’ union and several lawyers—went to the station to call for the release of the prisoners. 

“When they arrived officers insulted the lawyers and began to beat them all with sticks inside the station.

“When I got there we decided to stage a sit-in to demand an official apology for our treatment.”

News spread in Alexandria that people were being beaten in the police station and a crowd of 200 gathered outside. They shouted slogans, accusing the police of corruption.

“Inside we could hear them and we joined in the chanting against the police,” continued Mahie.

“The police were so worried even the head of security of Alexandria came to the station. The police started beating people in the protest 

outside too. I tried to get them to stop so they beat me and arrested me.” 

Outside police dragged protesters along the street. 

Police officers stripped the clothes from RS member Ranwa Youssef and sexually assaulted her. Her husband Youssef Chaaban was one of those arrested.

“The police even accused us of beating up security police even though we were the victims,” said Mahie. Many were badly injured,” . 

The 13 were accused of damaging a police station, insulting the station’s personnel, attempting to help prisoners escape and spreading terror among citizens. 

Mahie insisted that no one  put up bail for her as her freedom should not be bought. 

“I and another comrade refused to answer questions saying we didn’t recognise the legitimacy of the prosecutor,” she said. 

All those arrested, including those who had refused to cooperate, were released and acquitted late on Saturday.

Pressure

“I couldn’t believe we got out in one day,” Mahie said. “It was the pressure from outside that did it.”

The local police were so angry at the release of the 13 that they went on strike in protest. “We won’t be intimidated and this has only made the revolution stronger,” said Mahie. 

“There are still others imprisoned we have to fight for. We need to win the release of our comrade, Hassan Mostafa. He was sentenced to two years in prison on 12 March for attacking a prosecutor.

“People believe in themselves. We feel we have the upper hand. 

“We are not afraid. We will continue to fight.” 


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Article information

International
Fri 5 Apr 2013, 16:02 BST
Issue No. 2347
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