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April 6 marks detained member's birthday by protesting for his release
Published in Daily News Egypt on 16 - 12 - 2010

CAIRO: Dozens of protesters held candles on the steps of the Journalists' Syndicate on Wednesday in a symbolic celebration of detained activist Mohamed Shawki's 26th birthday.
Shawki, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement, was arrested while videotaping runoff election violations that took place in El-Basatin district near Maadi on Dec. 5, according to members of the movement.
“This is a symbolic celebration of Shawki's birthday because he couldn't celebrate it with us today,” Amr Ezz, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement, told Daily News Egypt.
The movement organized the symbolic birthday celebration and called for expediting Shawki's release.
Shawki is accused of vandalizing public property, inciting public disturbance and obstructing government officials from performing their duties.
The South Cairo Court ordered that Shawki remain in custody for 15 days during the investigations on Dec. 9.
“He's completely innocent of all these charges,” Shahinaz Abdel Wahed, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement, told Daily News Egypt. “He's an intellectual man who loves his country, and that's the reason he was monitoring the violations that took place during the elections.”
Protesters held up large banners displaying photographs of Shawki and his almost two-year-old son.
“Shawki was trying to create a better future for his son to grow up in,” Abdel Wahed said.
“I know [Shawki] personally,” Mahitab Al-Gilany, a member of the National Association for Change and the April 6 Youth Movement, told Daily News Egypt. “He's a good man who was fighting for the [people's right to free and fair elections].
“We will keep on calling for Shawki's freedom,” Al-Gilany added.
Coordinator of the April 6 Youth Movement Ahmed Maher told Daily News Egypt that if Shawki isn't released by Sunday, the movement will hold a sit-in at the prosecutor general's office and, if that does not yield results, it will embark on an open sit-in on Tuesday.
The ruling National Democratic Party swept the polls in last month's parliamentary elections, winning 420 seats out of 508 seats in the first round amid wide accusations of fraud and vote rigging.
Mobile phone videos of ballot box stuffing and polling station violence flooded the internet during the elections process.
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak dismissed the allegations and said that any violations that occurred during the elections were too minor to undermine its legitimacy.


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