Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Where was Mohammed Adel Arrested?

A while ago Dr Zahi Hawass announced in a somewhat offhand way that the Egyptian authorities had locked away some of the people "who were caught with antiquities from the Egyptian Museum". There was a case in the newspapers about one Mohammed Adel, is he one of the people locked away for stealing from the Egyptian Museum? The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) has denied recent reports about detention of activists and protesters. The statement confirmed that "the army has always protected the revolution and will continue to do so until all its demands are achieved". Meanwhile, families of detained youths who were arrested and tried in front of military courts say no steps have been taken to reinvestigate the cases of their sons.
Mohammed Adel, a CitiBank accountant and a protester who was detained by the army on Jan. 28, was sentenced to five years in military prison with charges of attempted theft. [....] According to his mother, Adel was protecting the Egyptian Museum from thuggery and looting when he was arrested by the army. Daily News Egypt contacted Adel's mother Nariman Ahmed on April 14 when the SCAF released another statement promising to investigate other detention cases, and she said that no steps were taken to release Adel. "There is too much stalling from the SCAF's side," Ahmed told DNE on Tuesday. "We filed an appeal against Adel’s detention 10 days ago because his signature is required on his appeals application, and now we have 60 days to officially present the appeal to the military prosecution," she explained. Ahmed says that the military prosecution will revise the appeal on day 61. "That's too much time … he was arrested, interrogated and tried in only few days. It is unfair to see my son slowly losing his future and his life," Ahmed added.
Without wanting to judge the rights and wrongs of this specific case, the impression we were given of these looters was that they were uneducated yokels completely unaware of their surroundings, misled by the glittery stuff in the shop into thinking they were in the Museum itself. Nobody mentioned that one of the people jailed is a Citibank accountant. He was "arrested, interrogated and tried in only few days", I wonder where he was arrested, how he was interrogated by the army, and how he was tried and convicted for "attempted theft" (so had no stolen items on him when caught). He says he was trying to protect the museum, somebody says otherwise, but it is necessary for someone to carry the can for the robbery, so convictions followed. Just who is convicted of involvement in this crime, and who is still at large?

UPDATE: A slightly different tale about this man can be found here Updated list of Tahrir protesters Detained By Army from which I reproduce his photo. What was "case no. 2 for year 2011, military crimes" about?

UPDATE 3rd August 2011:

Zeinab El Gundy ('New batch of arrests in Tahrir Square to add to the ones suffering in military jails', Al-Ahram Tuesday 2 Aug 2011) has additional information on this case:

On 17 July, 2011 a military court acquitted Mohamed Adel of criminal charges after five months in Al Wadi Al-Gadid prison. Adel, along with other protesters, was protecting the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square on a violent 28 January when he was arrested by the military police. Adel was accused of “thuggery” and breaking the curfew that came into effect that day without much lead time. He found himself standing before a military court that sentenced him to five years in jail in the second case in a military court for year 2011. Mohamed Adel’s mother, Nariman, an interior designer, published a plea in the press asking Field Marshal Tantawi to pardon her son, who is not a thug, but an accountant working in Citibank. After that plea the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced in its communiqué no.29 in March 2011 that the procedures of Adel’s trail would be revised. On 17 July, 2011 the court acquitted Mohamed Adel of criminal charges and although he was still found guilty of breaking the curfew he was released and is currently back home. Unfortunately, says Mona Seif, an activist and one of the founders of the No to Military Trials campaign, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, like Adel facing military trials.

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