Egyptian publisher Mohamed Hashem, owner of the Merit Publishing House, was amongst those singled out during a press conference held by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Monday. The SCAF screened video footage of detained children claiming they saw Hashem handing out helmets and gas masks to protesters.
In response, Hashem stated that he is honoured to be providing protective equipment to people in Tahrir, adding “They want to be killing and injuring people while we stand still and not offer help?”
Hashem stressed that he is going to continue to assisting the revolution as he has since 25 January, whatever the risks. "My blood isn't any more precious than that of Sheikh Emad Effat or Alaa Abdel-Hadi who died yesterday."
Referring to the SCAF’s indirect accusations, Hashem added that “Those who can kill doctors healing the injured can also accuse those helping the injured. I will not stop handing out aid, masks or covers as this is our role in the revolution.”
Hashem went on to insist that the military council has to be forced to step down since they “kill people and defame people politically.”
Hashem’s publishing house is located near Tahrir Square and has become known for its role during the revolution in offering help and aid to protesters since January. Merit also hosts many political activities. Hashem is a recipient of the German Hermen Kesten Prize for supporting freedom of expression and is well regarded amongst Egyptian and Arab intellectuals.
In solidarity with Hashem, prominent Egyptian figures in the arts world released a statement expressing their “full appreciation of the role played by the Egyptian publisher Mohamed Hashem and Merit Publishing House in the 25 January Revolution in Egypt. We all denounce the accusations against Hashem by a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that is currently ruling Egypt.
“These accusations are aimed at the values advocated by Merit Publishing House since it started to promote enlightenment in the face of oppression and dictatorship. Merit Publishing House represents a haven of freedom for the Egyptian intellectual elite,” added the statement.
A press conference is expected to take place on Tuesday in order to respond to and denounce the accusations against Hashem.