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Protest calls for release of Egyptian Gaza activists
Published in Daily News Egypt on 09 - 02 - 2009

CAIRO: Protestors outside the Journalists' Syndicate Sunday night called for the release of all the activists and relief workers who have been detained because of their entry into Gaza during the Israeli 22-day offensive.
Protestors chanted anti-government slogans and called for the immediate release of the detainees, often mentioning them by name.
One of the detainees is head of the now defunct Labor party Magdi Ahmed Hussain, who is to be sentenced in a military tribunal Wednesday. Last Friday, Gaza activist Philip Rizk was also detained. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Also among the detainees are Ahmed Douma, Mohammed Adel, Ahmed El Kordy, Aly Abdel-Fatah and Hussam Abu Bakr El-Siddiq.
Mohammed Abdel-Quddous, head of freedoms committee at the Journalists' Syndicate, said at a conference after the protest that the placing of civilians in military trials without proper legal representation and the absence of an appeals process was a grave error.
"What is evident in the manner of treatment Magdi was subjected to is that a military court is not suitable for civilians, he said.
Naglaa Al-Qaliuby, Hussain's wife, said, "The army that should be defending the people of Gaza is the one that is putting people on trial for sympathizing with the people of Gaza. This is a disgrace for the Egyptian army and its military courts.
Hussain had tried twice to enter Gaza according to his wife, and was detained and sent back both times but was able to enter the Strip on his third attempt through a breach in the border.
He was arrested as he returned from Gaza through the Rafah crossing. He was kept in a car for 10 hours upon detention, according to Al-Qaliuby.
Al-Qaliuby told Daily News Egypt that Hussain is in a good health and awaits his court session Tuesday. She said the verdict is expected on the same day.
Gamal Abdel-Salam, head of the Doctors' Syndicate relief committee, was one of the detainees and was only released on Saturday. He was responsible for a number of aid convoys that went to Gaza and says he was falsely accused of attempting to create a terror cell sympathetic to Hamas.
"We are not ashamed of what we did, and we will continue to do what we are doing. We work in Somalia and Darfur and we will keep working in Palestine, he said.
Abdel-Salam said that although they were held 12 to a cell, spirits were high amongst the detainees.
Adel Fahmy, father of teenager Mohamed Adel, said "I don't know how a 19-year-old can become a trained terrorist in 24 hours; the military academy requires four years of training.
Adel, detained Nov. 20 2008 and whose whereabouts are still unknown, was taken because of a picture of him with a Hamas official.
Despite his concern over his son, Fahmy said, "Our pain is worth nothing compared to the blood of the children and mothers that has been shed in Gaza. Our suffering is not worth anything in relation to theirs.
Ahmed Ramy, head of the boycotting committee at the Pharmacists' Syndicate and member of the Arab Doctors Union's aid committee was also detained recently, his wife told Daily News Egypt.
"I ask the authorities to think again . and to acknowledge the efforts [activists] have put into helping others, he said.
Shaimaa Abu Fajr, wife of Mosaad Abu Fajr, founder "Wedna Ne'eesh (We want to live) that calls for the rights of Sinai's Bedouins, also said her husband has been detained over 14 months ago and has yet to be freed, despite seven court decisions ordering his release.
"My husband was calling for basic rights, our rights, the rights of people in Sinai, and that is why he started the movement [Wedna Ne'eesh] and wrote a novel ["Talaet Al-Badan ] that sheds light on [security] violations.
"He was an icon in Sinai and state security decided to break him so others wouldn't consider following his path.

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