CAIRO: Thursday’s protests began right, went smoothly, but ended in disarray as plainclothes police surrounded a BBC correspondent’s vehicle and dragged away Karim Al Shaer. In the process of arresting Al Shaer, the men are reported to have thrown objects at the vehicle, breaking windows and forcing the car to stop.
“Plainclothes security raided Dina Samak’s car while beating Ahmed Salah and kidnapping Karim Al Shaer, says an activist named Nora. “Dina Samak is a BBC reporter and is also pregnant. She was injured in the process of abducting Karim and Ahmed (an activist), who had just been released from Tora prison a few days ago.
An Interior Ministry spokesman denied any beating had taken place. These torture claims are not true. It is not in anyone s interest to do this … A lawyer will say anything to put pressure on because he s being paid to do so, the spokesman was reported to have said.
Eyewitness accounts say that police also dragged the pregnant Samak along with another lady, who was with Samak at the time, from their car because they were with Al Shaer.
Along with Al Shaer and Salah, Mohamed Sharkawi was also detained following the peaceful demonstration in front of the journalists syndicate. All three had been recently released from prison and defied an order not to go to any demonstrations.
“They were brutally tortured following their arrest and were sexually abused, Aida Seif El Dowla, a leading activist, tells The Daily Star Egypt. “This was done by officers in Kasr El Nil police station before they were referred to State Security prosecutors.
A Kefaya statement released late Thursday night describes the alleged torture.
“State Security officers sodomized Mohamed Sharkawi, a young activist, using rolled cartoon paper for nearly 15 minutes. They tore his underwear and threatened to rape him. This came as part of the horrid torture festival that Karim Al Shaer, another activist, was exposed to in Kasr El Nil Police Station, the statement read.
According to another activist, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the claims, Al Shaer and Sharkawi are refusing to be interrogated until they receive a proper medical evaluation.
In the same Kefaya statement, lawyers who have seen Sharkawi have stated that there is “no area on Sharkawi’s body that is void of bruises, swells and injury.
The mens lawyer, Gamal Abdel Aziz Eid, who was present at the interrogation, has confirmed that the men were beaten. I could see that he (Sharqawi) was tortured brutally, he says. ” His eyes were swollen and there were shoe marks on his neck and chest.
According to Salma Nyew, a Kefaya activist, they are now being held in the prosecutor’s office in Heliopolis. They have been given another 15-day detention by prosecutors says their lawyer.
Immediately following the demonstration, Kefaya head George Ishaq was optimistic that no violence had taken place, saying that the fear of demonstrating was breaking the security forces. He did, however, add a warning.
“The day is still not over, so we never know what is going to happen until we get up tomorrow.
“No respect to honor. Both sexes are treated equally when it comes to sexual and physical assaults. Lawyers could not maintain their calmness when they saw the beastly marks of torture all over the activists bodies. It was as if they were in Abu Ghraib [prison] … the Kefaya statement added.
Al Shaer had said, during yesterday’s demonstration, that he was pleased that it was going smoothly and without violence.
“I am happy at what is going on, although confrontation is good for the news, this is better for Egypt, he said.