Mubarak-style random arrests after Israeli embassy break-in: rights activists

Ahram Online, Tuesday 20 Sep 2011

Following the storming by protesters of an Israeli embassy in Cairo facility on 9 September, human rights activists say police have been arresting innocent passersby, reminiscent of Mubarak-era tactics

Protesters tear down a concrete barrier wall built in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo 9 September 2011. Hundreds later stormed the embassy.(Photo by: Mai Shaheen)

Egyptian security forces have been randomly arresting citizens since the attack on the Israeli embassy on 9 September, according to human rights activists.

“We have information that many of those who were arrested did not participate in the attack on the embassy and many of them just happened to be around the area when the incident took place,” says Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, who added that the arrests were reminiscent of the Mubarak era.

“During the Mubarak era, security forces used to arrest anyone who happened to be where an incident took place, and now the same method is used.”

Human rights lawyer, Amir Salem agrees: “The security response to the embassy attack was very tough and reminded us of the brutal methods used by the Mubarak regime, which included random arrests to terrorise the people,” Salem explained.

Friends of Fady El-Sawy, one of the protesters arrested after the attack, started a Facebook page demanding his release.

His friends claim that the military police randomly arrested him while he was in the area. However, they stressed that El-Sawy was on his way to his office, which is located in the area and was not involved in the attack in any way.

However, a senior security officer, who asked to remain anonymous, denied allegations that security forces randomly arrested people.

“The police and the military only arrested those who were involved in the incident,” the security officer said.

Following the attack on the embassy 200 protesters involved in the storming of the building where the embassy is located were rounded up and arrested. The attack also left one thousand injured and at least three dead.

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