CAIRO: A group of eight bloggers and activists were detained Friday while attempting to travel to Nagaa Hammadi to visit families of the victims of the Jan. 6 massacre in which six Copts and one Muslim were killed outside a church.
According to reports on short messaging service Twitter, a group of bloggers and activists coming from Cairo was stopped at Qena train station at around 8 am and taken to the Qena security directorate.
Communication with the detainees was impossible for most of the day, as their mobiles were switched off.
A group of professors and activists who had also traveled to Nagaa Hammadi separately, by plane, succeeded in entering Nagaa Hammadi.
Activist George Ishaq told Daily News Egypt that the group of eight was “briefly held by security officers before being allowed to proceed with the visit.
Ishaq said that they visited families of the victims of the drive-by shooting before proceeding to Qena at around 3 pm to try to secure the release of the detained bloggers and activists.
The Hisham Mubarak Law Centre (HMLC) reported at 3:30 pm that negotiations were being conducted between security officers, the detainees and lawyers about whether the detainees would be released in Qena, or be taken in a police truck to Cairo and released there.
According to the HMLC statement, security officers said that “exceptional measures were being applied in Qena, and in particular in Nagaa Hammadi, because the Sheikh of the Al-Azhar mosque was in Nagaa Hammadi to lead the Friday prayer accompanied by other state officials. -Daily News Egypt