The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Egyptian security must be called to account, despite the release of Philip Rizk
Cairo 11th February 2009
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that the Egyptian security forces have released kidnapped activist Philip Rizk. Rizk was held blind-fold for five days in an unknown place and subjected to all kinds of mental abuse.
Interviewed by ANHRI, Philip said, “I was repeatedly questioned about everything and I was terrified. Although I was not abused physically, I was blind-folded all the time. Officers kept saying to me: "Do you know what we can do to you?", and I was threatened with long term imprisonment. They asked me if I supported Hamas, was working for Israel, and, being Christian, if I was an evangelist. I was never informed of any charges against me.”
State security did not stop with this mental torture. After breaking into his family's house at dawn on Sunday, they went to his own apartment and illegally seized much of his property including the password to his email and his personal blog "escape".
ANHRI say they are not optimistic and do not expect any punishment to be imposed on the criminals who kidnapped Philip, Egypt being a country well known for its culture of impunity. ANHRI say that they will await the investigation results of the prosecution.
ANHRI and Rizk will wait the week specified period for the security forces to return his effects which were confiscated, viz.:
Three digital cameras, one video camera, a mobile phone, an I Pod, thirty CDs and DVDs, a number of books and reference papers, personal documents, sixty camera films, a laptop case, a large travel bag, three hard drives and a handbag containing personal effects. ANHRI say that the loss of one single item will be treated as theft by the security officers.
ANHRI also say that seizure of e mail passwords and the blog "escape" means that they are out of Philip's control and that therefore any message purportedly published by him, may not necessarily be genuine.