CAIRO: After a few hours in detention, security forces in Alexandria released Thursday all the activists arrested in a protest in solidarity with lawyer and political activist Mahinour Al-Masry, according to activist Mona Seif’s Facebook post on her account.
Isis Khalil, one of the girls arrested in the protest, said on her Facebook account that the police officers abused her and her friend Reham Helmy, 22, with verbal and physical harassment while putting them in the police vehicle.
Khalil also said that Alexandria investigation director officer Nasser Al-Abd threatened them and told them that he will make sure of their end and he will close that “center,” meaning the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR.)
ECESR issued a statement signed by 13 human rights organizations after releasing the arrested, denouncing the police attacks on the center and the protesters and seizing the center equipments. Such an attack is an expected escalation for what media practice against human rights defenders and human rights organizations.
It also denounced the harassment of the arrested girls by the police officers, touching inappropriate parts of their bodies, and verbally abusing them by calling them prostitutes, assuring that such acts is instill fear in women to get them to avoid participation in the political and social scene.
The protest was held outside ECESR after a conference called Down with the Protest Law. Security forces dispersed the protest and arrested some of the participants, including ECESR members Taher Mokhtar and Mostafa Eissa, according to Freedom for the Brave official Facebook page.
ECESR lawyer Mohamed Awad, El-Bedaya journalist Isis Khalil, and lawyers Mohamed Ramadan and Mohamed Hafez were arrested, according to Freedom for the Brave official twitter account.
Three armored army vehicles and two police vehicles moved belongings from inside ECESR in Alexandria early Thursday, Nirmen Nizar a friend of Masry said on her Facebook account. Masry’s appeal trial is scheduled for June 28.
The Alexandria Appeals Court upheld Masry’s sentence for two years in custody with a 50,000 EGP ($7,000) fine for breaking the protest law and participating in a protest outside Alexandria Criminal Court during the trial of the people accused for killing Khaled Said.
Under Egypt’s new protest law, many were arrested for staging unapproved protests demanding to abolish it. Egypt’s government repeatedly defended the protest law, emphasizing that it is essential to restore stability to the country.