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Internet activist kidnapped, detained for three weeks

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 28 April 2009, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) asserted that it would not back down from its demand of an investigation of the state security officers who abducted the Internet activist Ahmed Mohamed Alaa El Din on 7 April 2009. Alaa was released on the evening of 27 April, three weeks after his kidnapping.

Huda Nasrallah, a lawyer with ANHRI's Legal Aid Unit for Freedom of Expression, filed a report with the public prosecutor on 11 April, requesting an investigation into the abduction of Alaa and the seizure of his computers from his house in Minya El-Qamh-El-Sharqiyya. Ten days later, Nasrallah went to the Office of the Attorney General in Zagazig, who is in charge of the city of Minya El-Qamh, and found that the investigation had not begun, and moreover, that the report submitted to the Office of the Public Prosecutor had not been received. Nasrallah, along with Siham Shawada, a journalist with "El-Ahali" newspaper, submitted a new report to the attorney general on 22 April, demanding an immediate investigation into the kidnapping.

On the evening of 27 April, ANHRI learned that Alaa had been released and that he had returned home.

ANHRI believes that the release of Alaa should not signal the closure of the investigation, since the crime of kidnapping has been committed, and the names of the officers who abducted him are known (Hossam Hijazi and Ahmed Morgan). ANHRI has also learned of the place where Alaa was detained during the past several weeks (the department of the state security in Minya El-Qamh) and that the computers seized at his arrest have not been returned to him.

"There is no excuse for the public prosecution to neglect conducting an investigation into this crime and turn a blind eye to the whole incident. We have submitted two reports, and the incidents reported are sufficient to complete the crime; should we import a public prosecutor from abroad to ensure justice and to restore public confidence in the notion that everyone is equally subject to the law, even state security officers?" said Nasrallah.

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