PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 12/005/2009
18 February 2009
UA 45/09 Incommunicado detention/enforced disappearance/fear of torture/medical concern
EGYPT Dia' el Din Gad (m), aged 23
Student blogger Dia' el Din Gad, who has been denouncing President Mubarak for Egypt’s policy towards the
Gaza Strip and the authorities' attitude to the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, was
arrested on 6 February by State Security Investigations (SSI) officers. His whereabouts have still not been
disclosed by the Egyptian authorities, despite his family’s and lawyer’s inquiries to the Ministry of the Interior
and the office of the Public prosecutor. He is believed to be held incommunicado in an unknown location,
putting him at danger of torture.
Just before his arrest, Dia’ el Din Gad had returned to his home in Qotour city near Tanta city (north of Cairo)
following the Friday prayer. When he left the house to take a phone call, he was immediately arrested by SSI
officers. They beat him as he was screaming to his mother for help and took him away.
Dia' el Din Gad’s mother described to Amnesty International how he frequently suffers panic attacks which
make it difficult for him to breathe. He also has difficulty walking or bending one of his legs, due to injuries
suffered in childhood. He takes painkillers and other medication, which he did not have with him when he
Dia' el Din Gad wrote on his blog, Sout Ghadeb (Angry Voice) views criticizing the Egyptian policy regarding
Gaza – including the restrictions on humanitarian aid delivered through Egypt to Gaza – and later regarding
the 4 February arrest of Ahmed Doma, a leading member of the civil disobedience youth movement, the
Popular Movement to Free Egypt (usually known as Ghadeboun – "we are angry"). He also referred to President
Hosni Mubarak as "Ehud Mubarak" – in a reference to Israeli Minister of Defence Ehud Barak. According to
local activists, a few days before he was arrested, Dia' el Din Gad had taken part in demonstrations organized
by the liberal Wafd opposition party in Cairo in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
Egyptian security forces have in the recent months arrested those critical of the government’s position with
regard to Gaza, including hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood staging protests and many
bloggers and youth activists for their writings on Egypt’s policy on Gaza. Most recently, Egyptian-German
blogger Philip Rizk was arrested by SSI officers on 6 February at a Gaza solidarity march, and held for four
days. Another blogger, Mohamed Adel, was arrested on 20 November and detained incommunicado for almost
a month. He is now facing charges of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood opposition group and
trying to illegally cross the Egyptian border into Gaza.
Ahmed Doma was sentenced by a military court on 10 February 2009 to one year’s imprisonment and a fine
of 2,000 Egyptian Pounds (US$365), along with Ahmed Kamal Abdel Aal. Both were convicted of illegally
crossing the eastern border of Egypt into Gaza. While Ahmed Doma appears to have entered the Gaza Strip
during the Israeli military campaign and returned afterwards, Ahmed Kamal Abdel Aal appears to have been
arrested in Rafah, on suspicion of his intention to cross into the Gaza Strip. On 11 February 2009, Magdy
Hussein, General Secretary of the suspended Labour party, was sentenced by a military court under the same
charge to two years imprisonment and a fine of 5’000 Egyptian pounds (US$912).