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Labour activist detained

(ANHRI/IFEX) – 13 February 2012 – ANHRI condemns the security services for their detention of Kamal al-Fayoumi, labor activist and member of the Revolutionary Socialists movement, in the city of Mahalla on 11 February 2012. Al-Fayoumi issued a call for participation in a general strike to demand the fulfilment of the demands of the revolution and a hand over of power from the Military Council to a civilian authority. A number of parties, movements, and political powers shared the same call to protest the inaction of the Military Council in the implementation of the Egyptian revolution's goals, and its use of the same policies to restrict public freedoms as Mubarak's regime has used in the past.

On the same day as al-Fayoumi's detention, the security services detained an Australian journalist, an American student studying in the American University in Cairo, and their interpreter while in the city of Mahalla. They were all brought before the Mahalla prosecution on charges of “inciting civil disobedience”. The case file and the police report were withdrawn from the prosecution during its investigations on 12 February, and the case is now being investigated by an anonymous sovereign body.

It is worth noting that al-Fayoumi is one of the prominent labor leaders who was detained on 6 April 2008 due to his activity during the famous 6 April strikes of Mahalla city. He remained under detention for approximately 75 days in Borg al-Arab prison. He was released after the aforementioned events had subsided.

“The interim Egyptian authorities administering the transitional phase still target the supporters of the revolution and restrict freedoms in the same way that Mubarak's regime did. The authorities neglect our ongoing calls to put a stop to the setbacks of the goals and gains of the Egyptian revolution, and have no respect for freedom of expression, without which a democratic transition cannot happen,” said ANHRI.

“Striking is a peaceful and legitimate means of protest. It is strange that an activist was detained for calling for a peaceful protest in defense of a revolution in which over 2,000 protesters sacrificed their lives for democracy, public freedoms, and economic rights. Therefore, as we express our surprise over the infringement on the authority of the prosecution and the withdrawal of the case file from it, we call on the Egyptian authorities to release Kamal al-Fayoumi, the Australian journalist, the American student, and their interpretor immediately. We also call on them to cease their ongoing attempts to defame the pro-democracy movements and to besiege freedom of expression,” added ANHRI.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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  • Australian journalist, translator detained

    Austin Mackell, Aliya Alwi, and Derek Ludovici had travelled to Mahalla to cover the nationwide strike on 17 February marking the first anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak's ouster.



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