Monday, 16 May 2011
Tarek Shalaby Arrested!
Last night, my brother Tarek Shalaby, was arrested by the Egyptian army along with 10's of others from in front of the Israeli Embassy in Giza. Yesterday marked the commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba, and many Egyptians were out protesting in solidarity with the Palestinians against the Zionist entity. The demonstrations quickly turned ugly, when army and riot police started firing tear gas, rubber bullets and pellet shots at the demonstrators. Tarek was taken later that night and live streamed his arrest through his phone which he managed to hide in his shirt pocket. Later the phone was switched off and there was no way of communicating with him throughout the night. Friends of his at the scene told us they had seen him being pushed into a CSF truck, and that the trucks with the detainees had driven away from the embassy. In the morning, we were advised to go to the Military Prosecutor in Nasr City. When we got there, the soldiers at the gate told us that the detainees from the 'embassy' were no longer being held there and that they had been taken downtown to the Public Prosecutor in Bab el-Khalk. However, friends asked there and found that they had not in fact been taken there. It was only when we accidentally bumped into a military officer, that he told us that the 'embassy' people had been taken to the military detention facility - Hykestep, because there had been no space for them at the Military Prosecutor's in Nasr City. We however had to obtain stamped permission to visit him at the detention facility - something we managed to do after a 3 hour wait. We finally got to the Hykestep, and after long negotiations with a very arrogant military officer, we were able to go in for a visit.
We actually only saw Tarek for about 5 mins, but he was in high spirits, much to our relief. He was wearing these blue overalls, which he thought were quite amusing, and told us that he had been treated well so far. They had arrived at the Hykestep at around 10 am and were immediately questioned by the prosecutor. They were then told that they would be taken to court the next day. Tarek was pretty optimistic that they would be released in a matter of days. A friend of his, Mosab, was also there with him, and seemed to be holding up pretty well. However, a 3rd detainee, Sadaty, was not doing too well. It was obvious from the bruises on his face that he had been beaten up pretty badly. He also looked quite terrified and was crying non-stop.
Overall we are not exactly sure what will happen next. From the beginning of this ordeal, nothing whatsoever has been clear or transparent. We had to run around the city in order to find out where he was being held, and no one at these military facilities offered any kind of assistance (although the soliders at the Hykestep were quite cooperative and friendly). However, until now we do not know anything about what procedures are followed, and what we should except next. But inshallah we are optimistic that Tarek and the rest of those that bravely protested at the Israeli embassy will be released soon.