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Monday, February 14, 2011

As Unrest Spreads Through Mideast, Human Rights Activists Search For Egypt’s Missing

Bahraini demonstrators run from tear gas Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, as riot police disperse a protest in the village of Duraz, Bahrain, outside the capital of Manama. (AP)

Bahraini demonstrators run from tear gas Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, as riot police disperse a protest in the village of Duraz, Bahrain, outside the capital of Manama. (AP)

Here & Now Guest:

Heba Morayef,  Human Rights Watch in Egypt

At least 85 Egyptians, who participated in the widespread protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power, are still believed to be missing, according to a human rights group. Human Rights Watch in Cairo today told Here & Now that those people are being held by the military, who seized control of the country after Mubarak stepped down on Friday.

“Our sense is that the majority of this group is being detained by the military,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher at Human Rights Watch in Egypt. “They are being held incommunicado, with no contact with their families, no access to a lawyer, no contact whatsoever with the outside world.”

While the country’s Ministry of Interior, which controls the police forces, is accused of detaining demonstrators in the early days of the protests, Human Rights Watch believes that detentions that took place after Jan. 29 were the work of the military.

“When the Ministry of Interior forces left the streets, it was the military that was deployed and the military police is the branch of the military that is authorized to arrest and detain people,” Morayef said. “Most of the detentions were short-termed, but there were also some cases of torture and ill treatment, so that’s of serious concern.”

“They are being held incommunicado, with no contact with their families, no access to a lawyer, no contact whatsoever with the outside world.”
– Heba Morayef, Human Rights Watch in Egypt

The youth opposition groups in Egypt are counting on the military to lead the country’s transition to democracy, and have reportedly met with military generals to discuss their demands, including the release of the detained.

Today the military promised to present a list of constitutional amendments to the public within ten days, which the country would vote on in a national referendum within two months. But human rights groups say the detentions are cause for concern.

Human Rights Watch estimates that overall 5,000 people are being detained, including youth protesters, and they say the military should either immediately release them or try them in fair proceedings.

Meanwhile, the ruling military council today ordered state employees, who are on strike protesting wages, to go back to work. Human rights activists say that type of directive is cause for concern, because it’s a sign of how they deal with activism.

Activists also want the military to provide a timeline for revoking the country’s 30-year-old state of emergency, which gives them the power to detain people without cause.

The state of emergency is a tool that the government has used over the years to detain thousands of people. With Mubarak now out of power, Morayef said, “There is no justification right now to maintain the state of emergency.”

Report by Here & Now’s Kevin Sullivan with the Associated Press

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  • M_zavarei

    Do you think you can continue ? You think you are powerful ?
    What the hell ,do you think you can change ? Do you think you how that powerful friends to help you ? Do you want to quarrel ? You want stoutness ? You do not to finish it ? no?
    If so … then listen ,Take my pen , Tell me what is the smallest ,think that you can find around us . Now look at the Auto tip.
    You can find the small cluse which is the smallest thing in here, But only with a few writing line I can Cut your life or I can send you, to prison for the rest of your life. I can Break your Neck with that small Auto tip . I can turn each and every cell in your system to a crime against you. I can take your family for ever and ever or I can do something to you, that you will never see your family .
    Every thing you have read up to now was spoken by my Interrogator Officer. Oh I wish it was only the small threat ,
    I believed him , because he did what he said , and he showed me how you can take a person’s life with only write a few line of your personal opinion which is not fallow any law , as well as judge doing when you are only 26 years , when you have all the world with you see your family infront of your self ,when your 3 year’s old daughter calling you and kiss you , in that time you will forget every thing . But you will lose every single things in your life only with pen’s movement of one person.
    If you be that much lucky to be survived from gallows but you still sentenced for 20 year’s imprisonment . But how many time you think you can live ? After 7 month temporary freedom I still have nightmare of Evin prison . I remember when I was child , my father been always praying and asking god to keep the man a way from crying and being ashamed but I never understood why in so important to him perhaps I saw the men’s cried when they were losing their relative or bankrupt , I just understood what my father said in 1389 (2010) at the new year moment when I was in evin prison with those people who loss their life .
    My Government (Islamic republic of Iran) think that they are GOD in the earth and they judging as a god they kill or imprisonment for the rest of people life , and it just normal in my country and that is why my nightmare’s are still remaining.
    It not important to me that who and where will help me to get rid of the nightmare’s I’m just looking for peaceful life for my family .
    Certainly it every one asked a peaceful life in his or her country and it my wish is also but not in Islam’s shadow.
    I’m requesting from all of human right’s to care a little about Iranian judgment and also be a serious to the people who was doomed because of that type of judgment .

    Writing by : mehdi.z

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