Searching for Amr Gharbeia and others missing from Abbasiya battle

Zeinab El-Gundy, Sunday 24 Jul 2011

While Amr Gharbeia emerged safe from last night's chaos in Abbasiya as protesters clashed with the military police and pro-Mubarak supporters, several others remain unaccounted for

Amr Gharbeia
Amr Gharbeia "By Hossam Hamalawy"

“I am home, safe and resting. Grateful for everybody.” By these few words on his Twitter account at 6am Cairo local time, blogger and human rights researcher Amr Gharbeia announced to friends and followers anxious about his wellbeing that he was safe.

According to his friend, Alya El-Hosseiny, Gharbeia was arrested by a group of young men while the two were trying to find a way out of Abbasiya Square. El-Hosseiny described how Gharbeia accused of being a "spy" because he was a member of the 6 April Movement. The last time El-Hosseiny saw Amr he was being bundled away in a car.

Between this testimony and ultil the tweet of Amr Gharbeia the next day, many rumours spread about his fate, with “Free Amr Gharbeia” calls flooding social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Egyptian blogs.

A pro-Mubarak Facebook page, “I am sorry President,” announced proudly yesterday that they were the ones that arrested Amr Gharbeia and handed him over to the authorities. The admin described Gharbeia as a young man with a mobile phone camera, demanding the toppling of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and carrying the ID card of a foreign-funded human rights organisation.

The Facebook page update raises questions on the role of pro-Mubarak supporters in yesterday's clashes, not least whether their action was legal — if citizens can arrest other citizens in this way. 

Amr Gharbeia is considered among the early leftist bloggers in Egypt. He worked as a human rights researcher for Amnesty International before working with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).

Gharbeia was among many who disappeared during the clashes of yesterday. Many remain unaccounted for, it being unknown if they were injured or detained, and if so what charges they face.

Short link: