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April 13, 2007


Amr Gharbeia

State Security usually threatens to harass, and sometimes detain, a person's loved ones until that person shows up, and they usually punish people for not turning themselves in soonest. Monem is showing more than the usual courage by not turning himself in immediately. The confusion arose after Monem reconsidered turning himself in after the initial message he sent.

The solidarity the bloggers are showing--including Mashi Sah from Saudi!--can be regarded positively. They are making threats more costly to Security, which I think is an attitude we need more of in Egypt. Illegal raids at four in the morning need not be tolerated.


the misinformation is a side effect of trying to report on a story while it developed.

the sequence goes as such.

*state security sends special forces to arrest several muslim brotherhood members
* Monem receives a phone call from his mother informing him that special forces raided their alexandria home and he is wanted
* Monem decides to turn himself in in order to spare his parents any hardships
* in preparation for his arrest monem sends emails and smss informing people he is about to turn himself in and posts a couple of posts on his blog that can be used as a seed for a campaign
* monem contacts his lawyers who tell him to wait until they find out more details
* lawyers find out there is no legal arrest warrant and advice monem not to turn himself in
* monem hears his father's health is deteriorating and he needs to be hospitalized, monem is now confused and starts contemplating hiding for a longish period
* monem shoots two videos, one about his father's health that gets posted on youtube (is this the first time a wanted political prisoner on the run posts videos on youtube? I'm sure state security appreciated this touch), the other is an interview with Al Hewar TV (his current employer)
* monem judging that since there are no legal arrest warrants he is technically allowed to travel and decides to try and leave the country on a pre-shceduled business trip
* monem passes passport control and boards the plane but gets arrested before plane takes off
* hours later Monem shows up in front of shobra prosecutor is charged with silly charges that can put him in jail for a very long time, monem will spend 15 days in custody then appear before the prosecutor again, prosecutor will most probably send him back to jail when th 15 days are over. this can go on for 6 months (enough time to cook up a good anti-terrorism law?). his arrest is now legal (or as legal as it gets in the land of the pharaohs)

meanwhile we (as in everyone who does that kind of thing) are franticly trying to organize a campaign.

there are tens of other muslim brotherhood detainees, the campaign for Monem should not ignore that.


thanks alaa - keep me posted as things develop - has anyone heard from momem since he went into custody?

nora younis

He is in Tora Mahkoum prison. No visits are allowed for the first 15 days. He will re-appear in front of prosecutor on Tuesday 24 April. His father is very sick and will probably need liver transplant.

US media has to put pressure on US officials to get a yay or nay statement. they are trying to ignore monem big time!

Ms .45

For what it's worth...


In particular I mention that if the MB is starting to wake up to why we have freedom of speech (ie not just so we can draw offensive pics of Mohammed), we (the "West") should encourage and reward this tendency.

Does anyone know what Monem has been charged with? I occasionally write letters for Amnesty International, but I tend to do so only with a strong legal understanding of the person's situation.


according to his lawyers (http://ensaa.blogspot.com/2007/04/blog-post_416.html) he is being accused of
* being a member of an illegal group (Muslim Brotherhood)
* creating and owning documents and photos that threaten public peace
* participating in clandestine meetings with the purpose of disrupting public order
* spreading false information about the government and security forces using torture systematically (couldn't translate the legal language of this one)

apparently he was questioned about his communication with local and international human rights groups.

one of the interesting aspects of Egypt's legal system is that the prosecutor is not obliged to state very specific charges and cite specific articles of the law, they can wait till they appear in front of a judge and detain you on very vague terms for up to 6 months.

even when they send you to court the judge is allowed to change your charges and use different articles of the law (happened twice with Abdol Karim and yet the judges claim he confessed).

so really the legal details are irrelevant until we get to court.

another thing Monem is facing a special prosecutor (state security), state security courts and prosecutors are considered unconstitutional by most human rights legal experts in Egypt and many of us refuse to reply when being questioned by a state security prosecutor demanding to face a real judge instead. if Monem refused to recognise the prosecutor it typically means we get to learn even less about the charges since the only way lawyers can get information is by hearing the actual questions and readin the paperwork on the spot (they are typically denied access to court and prosecutor documents, that is of course against the law).


وقع بيان المدونين للتضامن مع عبدالمنعم محمود
شارك بتوقيعك
أنشر البيان في كل مدونة تعرفها
ساهم في حرية المدونين .. وحرية منعم

sign the communique og Egyptians bloggers


I went ahead and e-mailed some people involved with the Free Alaa and Free Kareem campaigns to ask them why they weren't fighting on behalf of Monem.

Dalia Ibrahim Ziada of Arabic Human Rights Network said this:
"At the beginning of arresting Monem, I contacted them [the Free Monem campaign] and asked them to help as a human rights activist believing in freedom of speech. Few hours later, I recieved a reply saying that "The unclean hand which defended the disgrace Kareem should not defend our hero Monem"

Esra'a Al Shafel, the Director of Free Kareem, said this:
"We offered our help to one of the campaign's leaders. They didn't take

It appears the Free Monem campaign is refusing the aid offered by secular activists. Can we fix this, bring these two groups together? When the human rights community is divided only one person wins - Mubarak.

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