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ANHRI calls for release of eight activists

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 22 May 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called on the Damanhour prosecutor's office to release eight Egyptian activists who were arrested while participating in a discussion held at the social club square in Damanhour. The meeting was held in support of the National Assembly for Change and was aimed at encouraging citizens to call for democratic reforms in Egypt, including amendments to the Constitution and the repeal of the emergency law.

Egyptian security burst into the assembly of about 19 people and arrested the following 8 political activists:

Dr. Adel Al Attar, coordinator of the Kefaya movement in Damanhour
Lawyer Ahmed Milad, head of Al Ghad committee and coordinator of the National Assembly for Change in Al Behyra governorate
Fareed Abd Elmaqsoud, member of Altagmoa' party
Ahmed Basyoni, member of the Kefaya movement
Ahmed Medhat, member of the National Assembly for Change
Hani Idris, member of the National Assembly for Change
Esam Goida, member of the Kefaya movement
Mohamed Batour, member of the National Assembly for Change

According to ANHRI, the detainees were taken to the State Security Investigations (SSI) headquarters in Damanhour at about 10:00 p.m. on 20 May 2010. A half hour later, they were taken to the Damanhour police station, so that they could appear before the prosecution in the early hours of the morning.

The Damanhour prosecutor accused the detainees of belonging to a banned organization, the National Assembly for Change, promoting writings aimed at reforming the Constitution and the law, and distributing leaflets and posters of the National Assembly for Change.

The prosecution presented as evidence more than 300 leaflets and 55 posters of the National Assembly for Change and 15 documents for collecting signatures in support of democratic reform in Egypt. The prosecution is continuing its investigation.

ANHRI expressed concern over the arrest of the political activists by Egyptian security personnel. The activists had gathered in a peaceful fashion to express their opinion, discuss demands for change and try to convince the public about these desired changes, through the exchange of views. ANHRI also condemned the prosecution for considering the National Assembly for Change a banned organization, and deciding that calling for democratic reforms was a punishable offence. Even if they are in disagreement with them, the authorities should not bring the activists to trial for expressing views that are opposed to those of the Egyptian government.

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