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Palestinian filmmaker arrested just prior to debut of his film on situation in Gaza

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has strongly condemned the detention of Palestinian filmmaker Abdullah Awad elGhool, who is studying filmmaking at the Cinema Institute, an affiliate of the Academy of Arts in Cairo. Security force personnel detained elGhool and threatened him with deportation to Gaza for allegedly having no permit to stay in Egypt.

On 9 December 2010, State Security Intelligence (SSI) officers arrested elGhool in Isamilia, one day before he was to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the debut at the Dubai Film Festival of his film, "A ticket from 3zraeel (the angel of death)", about the tragic situation in Gaza. Security personnel have prevented his sister from visiting or talking to him. He is being held in very poor conditions even though/despite the fact that he had chest pains when he was arrested.

Abdullah has been in Egypt for four years studying filmmaking on a scholarship granted to the Palestinian Ministry of Culture by the Egyptian Ministries of Education and Culture. With respect to the permission for him to stay in the country, security personnel refused to grant him a permit due to the "sensitivity" of his homeland, Gaza.

ANHRI said, "The allegations that elGhool was arrested because he has no permit to stay in Egypt are trivial excuses and an abuse of power. ElGhool has been in Egypt for four years without having a permit to stay due to the arbitrary decisions of the Egyptian security forces. Many Palestinians are staying in Egypt with no permit because the security forces refuse to give them the permit. The real reason for the detention of elGhool is his participation in the Dubai Film Festival with his film about the collapsing situation in Gaza."

ANHRI added, "The Egyptian government should compel the security forces to refrain from jeopardizing elGhool's career. If the issue were actually about having a permit to stay, he should be given one as he has been studying in Cairo for four years and he is graduating this year. It is really disappointing and cruel to ruin the career of this scholar from Gaza."

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