Rain, Sleet, or Snow: Protest Arrest & Torture of Egyptian Anti-war
Activists, Friday @ 4:30
relamine at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 27 15:20:06 EST 2003
DC Groups to Protest Torture of Anti-war Activists in Egypt
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rami Elamine, 202 421 8599Dina Shehata, 202 413 5218
February 27, 2003
Washington, DC: Friday, February 28 at 4:30 p.m. anti-war activists from various D.C. groups will gather in front of the Egyptian Embassy to protest the imprisonment and torture of Egyptians who helped organize peaceful protests against the war on Iraq. Arrests occurred in Cairo from mid-January during the lead-up to the international February 15 anti-war protests. This was seen as a deliberate attempt to diffuse the strength of the Egyptian rally.
At least 11 citizens have been tortured by tactics such as solitary confinement, repeated beatings, blindfolds, and electric shock treatment, revealed Jonathan Neale of the International Campaign against Aggression against Iraq. Of special concern is an individual who recently had a major medical operation before being arrested. He is being held incommunicado and needs medications immediately. Organizations such as Amnesty International are working on his release.
Without sufficient international pressure, Egyptian peace activists worry that many more arrests will take place in the next few days, said Hussein Agrama, an Egyptian American Fullbright scholar who studied in Egypt, and is now a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University. None of the activists have been charged. Under Egyptian law, detainees may be held for weeks without formal allegations.
"We think it odd that the Egyptian government, which has come out clearly against a war on Iraq, is preventing its own citizens from opposing that war," observed Dina Shehata, an Egyptian doctoral candidate at Georgetown University.
DC protesters are demanding the immediate release of the detained activists, and an investigation of their torture and inhumane treatment. Protesters are also insistent that Egyptian citizens be allowed to exercise constitutional rights to free speech, association, and public and peaceable assembly.
Following a strong trend of popular international solidarity, these DC groups are echoing protests against the Egyptian government that have occurred in cities such as London, Paris, Warsaw, Beirut, and Melbourne.
Local groups who have endorsed this demonstration include Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), Stop U.S. Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN), Al Awda-DC, DC Anti War Network (DAWN), and Bush is Taking the Shirts Off Our Backs antiwar coalition.
The U.S. Egyptian Embassy is located on 3521 International Court, NW, behind the University of the District of Columbia. The protest will begin at 4:30 p.m.
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