On Monday night, an alarming message spread on social networking sites, warning that the only remaining 8 April officer behind bars, First Lieutenant Mohamed Wadi’, was assaulted in prison for releasing a video where he spoke about his detainment.
The 8 April officers were arrested for taking part in a demonstration on 8 April 2011, to protest an attack on a sit-in.
Sana’a Sa’ad, Wadi’s mother said Wadi’ was verbally abused. “They called him names but he never replied. They keep going to him, checking him to look for his phone and telling him to hand it over. I swear he doesn’t have a phone.”
“He was humiliated and they are putting him under immense psychological pressure,” she said.
The reason they ask for the phone, she said, is because of a video released of Wadi’ in prison where he tells the story of his arrest and imprisonment. Sa’ad confirms that the video was released but she doesn’t know how he managed to make it while in prison.
“They’ve been harassing him since last week. They took his paper and pen from him and placed him in solitary confinement.” Wadi’ has spent four and a half months previously in solitary confinement and has been moved around many prisons, she said.
The other officers Wadi’ was arrested with have been released, said Sa’ad. You could easily hear the frustration in her voice “Why is my son behind bars? Why do they get to spend Ramadan and Eid with their families?”
Sa’ad has been in contact with officials from the presidency, but to no avail. She said she visited the presidency to meet officials and was told to wait for five minutes, then a half an hour, later another official came back and asked her how they could help. They then sent her to the Ministry of Defence where she was met with similar treatment. “Don’t they have children and homes?…Even, if they tell me that he will never be released, at least I will know,” she added.
Sa’ad’s says Wadi’ and the rest of the 8 April officers were taken to military intelligence for 55 days after being arrested. “He spent that whole time, in the clothes he left the house with,” she said. He was then sentenced to ten years in prison, which was reduced to three years following a decision from Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, and then 6 months.
On 9 March, the armed forces and men in civilian clothes violently dispersed a sit-in in Tahrir Square. During the violent crackdown, protesters were beaten and taken to the Egyptian Museum where they were tortured. This is part of the reason the officers took part in the protest on 8 April, said Nesrine Yousef from The Supporters of the 8 April Officers Movement. “We were worried that the army wasn’t on our side and these army officers were saying the people and the army are one hand. We just wanted assurances from the army that they were on our side.”
The Supporters of the 8 April Officers Movement is attempting to raise awareness about the officers, advocate, and gather a million signatures on a petition calling for their release.