Egypt releases pro-Palestinian blogger



 
The Egyptian authorities have released 22-year-old Egyptian blogger Diaa Eddin Gad after nearly seven weeks in detention, according to an Egyptian human rights group. Gad was arrested on February 6 for criticizing Egypt's policies during Israel's recent war on Gaza.
 
By ALEXANDRA SANDELS
 
DIAA EDDIN GAD RELEASED
A passport photo of released Egyptian blogger - Diaa Eddin Gad. © NY Times/Shane Baldwin

BEIRUT, March 30, 2009 (MENASSAT) -  “Diaa (Eddin Gad) was released on Friday (March 27) at dawn... He was ill-treated in the period when we did not know where he was being held," Gamal Eid, director of the Cairo-based NGO Arabic Network for Human Rights Information told Reuters regarding Egyptian blogger Gad's imprisonment.

According to Eid, Gad was interrogated about his criticism of Mubarak and support of Gaza on his blog. Eid also said that the blogger was subject to torture while in custody, althought he Egyptian government has said nothing on the matter.

Gad was detained by police in early February near his home in the Nile Delta province of Gharbiya and then transferred to an unknown location.

On his blog "An Angry Voice" (http://soutgadeb.blogspot.com), Gad had featured "pro-Palestinian" content and news on the situation in the Strip during the recent three-week long Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Gad had posted numerous personal critiques of President Mubarak and the Egyptian authorities for their handling of the Gaza crisis, referring to Mubarak as "Ehud Mubarak"--an obvious reference to Israeli Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barack.

Egypt faced strong criticism from the Arab world during the Gaza war for keeping its border with the Strip closed throughout the Israeli offensive.

Thousands of Egyptians joined in several large demonstrations that were held in Cairo in support of Gaza during the war.

Gad is  not the only one: Mohammad Adel

Gad is not the only pro-Palestinian activist that was arrested during the time of the Gaza crisis. In February, Egyptian police detained German-Egyptian student and blogger Philip Rizk in a march in support of Gaza. He was held in custody for five days.

Last year, the Egyptian authorities arrested 20-year old student blogger Mohammed Adel on a Cairo street. No formal charges have been brought against Adel, but it is believed that the cyber-activist is being held because of recent photos he took in Gaza where he is seen posing with Hamas leaders.

Sources in Cairo say Adel could face charges of “terrorism and involvement in an armed organization” because of the images. 

In an act of solidarity with Adel, a group of Egyptian bloggers and activists launched in February this year the campaign “ Operation General Meit”, “Meit” being Adel’s blog title (and nickname) that translates to “Already Dead”, where they are posing with fake AK-47s and toy guns in pictures on the Internet.

Blogger and “Operation General Meit” campaigner Mina Zekry previously told MENASSAT that the aim of the campaign was to bring attention to how “ridiculous” the allegations against Adel are. 

“If Meit (Mohammed Adel) is a terrorist, then I’m also a terrorist,” Zekry states in a picture depicting the blogger holding a fake gun.