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Doctors' group urges Lebanon to release detained Egyptian neurologist

Tahrir Doctors Association condemns Saturday arrest of Egyptian neurologist Mohamed El-Hamshari by Lebanese authorities, demands physician's immediate release

Ahram Online , Monday 10 Sep 2012
Female medics and doctors distribute supplies during nearby clashes with Egyptian riot police, in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 (Photo: AP)
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The Tahrir Doctors Association voiced its "regret" on Monday for this weekend's detention of Egyptian neurologist Mohamed El-Hamshari, a member of the Arab Medical Union, by Lebanese authorities.

El-Hamshari was detained at Beirut's Rafik Al-Hariri Airport on Saturday upon his arrival from next-door Syria, where he had reportedly been providing medical relief and assistance for Syrians injured in the ongoing violence there.

According to television channel Al-Mannar, run by Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, Lebanese authorities had arrested El-Hamshari – along with two unidentified Syrian women – for entering the country in possession of illegal, highly advanced satellite-transmission devices that could potentially be used to make live television broadcasts.

Al-Mannar's website reported that the two Syrian women accompanying El-Hamshari had planned to bring the devices into Syria from Lebanon. 

The Tahrir Doctors Association, for its part, denounced El-Hamshari's arrest, saying that it was "only natural" for someone involved in medical rescue work to possess such a device. Association officials say they have contacted the Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate, which has in turn promised to open talks with Lebanon's embassy in Egypt aimed at El-Hamshari's release.

While there have been unconfirmed reports that El-Hamshari could face a military trial in Lebanon, leaks that have recently appeared online suggest he will likely be released and deported back to Egypt on Monday.

The Tahrir Doctors Association is an informal grouping of Egyptian physicians who volunteered to help injured demonstrators during the series of protests and clashes that followed Egypt's revolution last year. The group also provides medical assistance for Syrians currently seeking refuge in Egypt.

A number of Egyptian activists, meanwhile, are planning a rally at the Presidential Palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district to show solidarity with El-Hamshari and demand President Mohamed Morsi's intervention in the affair.

The Arab Medical Union, headed by former presidential candidate and Strong Egypt Party leader Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, likewise condemned the arrest of El-Hamshari, demanding his immediate release by Lebanese authorities. The Arab Medical Union is a major charity in Egypt, which has collected donations to help Syrian refugees and establish field hospitals in Syrian conflict zones. 

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