More than 20 Egyptian bloggers, who were on their way to pay their respects to the families of the victims of the Coptic massacre, were arrested when their train arrived in the village of Naga Hammady in Upper Egypt. They were released shortly afterwards and they are now telling us their side of the story.
Dr Mostafa Al Naggar, the mastermind behind the visit, is stressing once again the purpose of the trip:
نعبر عن انفسنا كمصريين وليس اي حزب او تيار او حركة
– ذاهبون لاداء واجب العزاء والربط علي قلوب اخواننا الاقباط وهذا الغرض الاول والاخير للرحلة اي رحلة انسانية
السفر الخميس مساءا والعودة مساء الجمعة
وبعثت بها لعدد محدود من اصدقائي المدونين ونشطاء حقوق الانسان وأكدت علي أن هدف الزيارة انساني محض وأننا لا نريد استعراضا اعلاميا
Before the trip he got a call:
Upon their arrival, they were circled by the police and the following conversation took place between the officer and Dr Al Naggar:
قال لي : مفيش خلي زمايلك يركبوا بالذوق بدل ما نطلعهم احنا
قلت له : ليه حضرتك احنا عملنا ايه عشان كل دا ، احنا جايين نعزي وماشيين ؟
نظر لي باستخفاف وقال : تعزوا ؟؟ انتم مقبوض عليكم اطلع يلا
حالة من الذهول انتابت الجميع ، تسألني ماريان : هو في ايه ؟ أنا أصلا غير فاهم لما يحدث ، لا أجيبها
اقتربت من الضابط قلت له : طيب حضرتك سيب البنات تمشي واحنا هنطلع معاك
صرخ بي : انتو هتختاروا …يلا اركب كلكم جايين معانا
وركبنا جميعا سيارة الاعتقال التي ذهبت بنا الي مركز شرطة نجع حمادي ثم الي مديرية أمن قنا حيث تم حبسنا هناك في زنزانتين واحدة للبنات وأخري للشباب
He said: Nothing! Just ask your colleagues to come on board before we force them to.
I told him: Why? What did we do to be treated this way? We are coming to say out condolences and we are leaving.
He looked at me with a smirk and said: Condolences? You are all under arrest! Move it!
We were all baffled and Marian asked me what was wrong and I was clueless.
I approached the officer and told him: You can let the girls go home and we will come with you.
He yelled at me saying: Do you think you have a choice?! You are all coming with us!
We were taken to Nagaa Hammady police station then transported to Qena governorate, where we were locked up in two separate cells; one for the men and one for the ladies.
Sherif Abdel Aziz blogged his testimonial:
Wa7da Masrya posted a picture of the officer who arrested them and complained of his uncalled for rough treatment:
Meanwhile, Amira El Tahawi posted pictures from within their cell. They stumbled upon a graffiti signed by El Kamony, who happens to be one of the shooters in the massacre; it said
The photograph is of two pieces of news from Al Naba'a Newspaper – one (left) refers to the Christians who died as “victims” while the other (right) refers to the Muslim who died as a “martyr.”
Like everyone else, Sandmonkey is wondering What Happened There!
So, the government decided to finally release the detained activists on Saturday, and they arrived on Saturday night back to Cairo, unharmed and all. There was no beating, there was no torture, unless you count having to spend a whole day and night in a small room without anything to lay or sit on torture […] The next morning, the order for the release of the activists was made, and they chose not to tell them. They just left them there till noon, and then went and gotten them out of their cells, put them in Mini-buses, and sent them back to Cairo. They are all safe, sound and exhausted. They still got no explanation as to why they were treated this way, and they never got to reach the families of the victims to offer their condolences. Having muslims consoling the families of Christian victims of muslim hate-crimes, well, that's just too much of a risk apparently. It might lessen the hate or something, and we can't have that!