Egypt: Some Protesters Still Unaccounted

Ed. Note: Not everyone has returned from Tahrir Square. This website is making an urgent personal plea to the Egyptians that come here every hour: Please demand an accounting of your comrades. It is up to you to protect the honor of your Revolution by demanding and receiving a complete accounting of those who stood with you.

“Perhaps he has been killed, he has been injured, he has been detained,” says his father, Mohammed Bakir, at home in the neighborhood of Mohandiseen.

Mohammed says he visited all the hospitals and morgues of Cairo, looking for his son, Ziad Bakir, but found nothing.

Ziad, a 37-year-old father of three, is a graphic designer who was not much interested in politics. But conscious, in late January, that something hugely important was happening.

On January 28, Ziad finally decided to take part. He asked for his father’s advice. Mohammed hesitated but concluded it would be wrong to say no.

Accompanied by a friend, Ziad joined the demonstration in Tahrir Square, just as tensions came to the boil.

The square was thronged with demonstrations and there were ugly scenes as pro-Mubarak supporters attacked from nearby streets.

The friend left for a couple of minutes. When he came back, Ziad was gone.

During those chaotic days, hundreds of protesters were arrested. Most of those detained were released last week, but at least 100 remain in military camps. And around 50, including Ziad, are still unaccounted for.

Human rights activists are struggling to keep up with the aftermath, not helped by the fact that Egypt’s new military rulers are saying nothing.

“I think it’s one rule of human rights,” says Ahmed Ragheb of the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, “that the government… show how many people are in the camps in Egypt and why these people are in these camps.”

With the army now in charge, there are real concerns that old regime habits remain very much alive.

“It’s worrying that the military is still involved in these detentions,” says Tom Porteous, of Human Rights Watch, “at a time when the military needs to send very clear messages about a break with the repressive past.”

For all the nagging fear, her father Mohammed chooses to be hopeful.

“He will return back I’m sure,” he says, stoically. “But looking forward for the future of this country, it is democracy, democracy, democracy.”

Complete article via BBC


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