The Refrigerator Case… Case No. 977 for 2017 “Position Paper”


Prologue: What is the refrigerator?

If you work in the field of law, or if you are a citizen who lives in a popular neighborhood, you know what is the detectives’ refrigerator.

But let us explain it for those who don’t know what it is:

The detectives’ refrigerator is an unofficial detention room in police stations, it is not the official “Detention room”, it is the room where they put the citizens who were taken by police detectives from coffee shops or from the streets while they are walking around and inspecting the areas that belong to the police department where they work.

Most of these detainees are being held unlawfully, but unfortunately, they were in that particular coffee shop or street at the same time as the “Pasha”, the assistant detective, was passing by, and he would ask them to show their ID cards, usually in a condescending manner.

If you did not have your ID with you, of if you reply to the Pasha in a way he doesn’t like, or if the Pasha doesn’t like you, you will be taken away and detained for a period of time until you find a connection to help you return to your home, or it could be even worse, and a case will be fabricated for you, such as smoking a marijuana cigarette, or they will just beat you up, humiliate you and then release you.

In short, the detectives’ refrigerator is a place where the detainees are held illegally until they are dealt with.

The use of the detectives’ refrigerator was common during the rule of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, and it was not exclusively used by a minister of interior in particular, it was rather a common approach with most of the former interior ministers.

The Refrigerator Case:

Case 977 for the year 2017 is a case that has no logic, there is no relationship connecting the defendants to one another, nor a rational accusation that brings them together!

Case 977 is a new refrigerator, but this time the detention is wrapped by a decision from the Public Prosecution, so that the President or any official can say very comfortably “We have no detainees, any detention is based on the Public Prosecution’s decision…”.

This time the refrigerator does not contain detainees held outside the law, but with decisions of the Public Prosecution in pre-trial detention in case No. 977, in which investigations were conducted, but the detainees are still being held without evidence and beyond reason, logic and justice, therefore it is a refrigerator case, which is a worse situation.

These young people, who are detained and accused under this case, belong to different political and ideological currents and the only thing they have in common is that they are young people, who write on social media or demonstrate.

Detainees come and go from the detectives’ refrigerator, but defendants are being added to the refrigerator case, and none have been released from it so far.

Although it has been two months since this case was opened, no official entity has announced the total number and names of all the defendants in the case or the number of detainees and arrested pending investigations into it, we are surprised every day by young journalists and young tweeps being added to this case.

“Mekameleen II

The National Security has issued a number of unacceptable excuses about the involvement of the defendants in media and electronic committees (trolling) of the Muslim Brotherhood, communicating with the Brotherhood’s media platforms, in particular the Al-Sharq and Mekameleen channels, shooting “fabricated” news and press reports as about the deteriorating economic and political situation in the country, and the public discontent with the government and its institutions in Egypt, to create a state of frustration and disturb public peace.

Thus, the case became known as “Mekameleen II”.

But most of the names to come in this paper do not watch television, and do not know the frequency of these channels.

The National Security also claimed that these young people incited the families of prisoners and convicted members of the Brotherhood to appear on these channels, whether over the phone or through video reports sent to the channel’s administration in Turkey.

The guests of the refrigerator:

The detainees in the refrigerator case, have nothing in common, most of them do not know each other, and the conditions and reasons for their detention are not the same; a photojournalist, a satirical tweep, a demonstrator for the Arab identity of Jerusalem, as follows:

  • Ahmad al-Sakhawi

The refrigerator case (No. 977 for 2017) came to be known on October 23, 2017, as photojournalist Ahmad Hamouda Mohammed al-Sakhawi appeared in the Supreme State Security Prosecution in the fifth settlement after he was forcibly disappeared by the security bodies for 27 days.

According to him, al-Sakhawi was deprived of his constitutional rights to contact his family and denied his right to have a lawyer attend with him the interrogation.

The Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to impriosn al-Sakhawi 15 days pending investigation on charges of “Joining a banned group (the Muslim Brotherhood), “Spreading false news” and “Espionage for foreign entities”.

al-Sakhawi was tortured and deprived of medical treatment in prison at the maximum security “al-Aqrab” prison in Tora (south of Cairo) to make him confess that he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and as he could not endure the torture, he attempted to commit suicide by cutting his arteries on the night of November 5, but he was rescued and taken to hospital.

On the morning of September 25, 2017, a security force from Abdeen police station had stormed the house of al-Sakhawi and took him to an unknown location.

When al-Sakhawi’s family went to ask about him at Abdeen police station, the officials denied having him in their custody, which prompted the family to send telegrams to the Attorney General and the Minister of Interior inquiring about the reasons for his abduction and the reasons for denying having him in custody of the Interior Ministry.

Ahmed Hamouda Mohamed al-Sakhawi is a 22-year-old freelance photojournalist, he worked previously for the “Al-Mesreyoun” and “al-Diyar” newspapers.

  • Islam al-Refaei AKA “5orm”

Then liberal satirical tweep Islam al-Refaei, AKA “5orm” was arrested, and also accused in the same case of “belonging to a banned group.”

al-Refaei was arrested in downtown Cairo on Thursday November 16, 2017, in front of the famous Horreya Café in Bab El Louk. Islam then disappeared, and his mobile phone was switched off.

When his friends and family members went to Abdeen police station 48 hours after his absence to to file an “absence” report, the police officers kept maneuvering and postponing filing the report, at the same time, Islam was brought before the State Security Prosecution without allowing him to contact his family or his lawyer, the State Security Prosecution charged him with “belonging to a banned group” and ordered his detention for 15 days pending investigation, in disregard to Islam’s constitutional right in accordance with Article 54 of the Constitution, which guarantees his right to make a phone call to his family or his lawyer.

Islam is also the founder of “” website, which specializes in the production and dissemination of videos and GIFs. Islam is an e-marketing manager in one of the companies working in the field of social networking and digital advertising. He is known on Twitter as 5orm and he as more than 75 thousand followers due to his sarcastic and sometimes erotic comments.

  • Islam Gheit

On November 13, security forces also arrested journalist Islam Saad Gheit from a coffee shop in downtown. On November 22, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to renew his imprisonment for 15 days pending investigations in case No. 977 of 2017 accused of “joining a banned group (the Muslim Brotherhood).”

  • Hosam el-Suefi
  • – Ahmed Abdelaziz

While they took part in a protest at the Journalists Syndicate on December 7, against the decision of US President Donald Trump to consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the security forces arrested journalists Hosam el-Suefi and Ahmed Abdelaziz.

On 10 December, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to imprison them pending case No. 977 for 2017, claiming that they were members of media committees and online trolling units affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Investigation bodies accused the two journalists of protesting without a permit, promoting ideas to hate the regime, joining a group established contrary to the provisions of the law and the constitution, and forming a media cell affiliated to a banned group. However, they were added as defendants in the refrigerator case, case No. 977.

  • Islam Ashry
  • Sherif Mohammed Abdel Moteleb
  • Nesrin Antar Abdel Latif

Among many others who were arrested on 8 December, newspapers mentioned (Nesrin Antar Abdel Latif, Islam Ashry and Sherif Mohammed Abdel Moteleb).[1]

were imprisoned pending the same case.

Both Sherif Abdel Moteleb and Nisreen Antar were denied the right to be accompanied by a lawyer during the December 9 investigation, which took place at the State Security Prosecution, which accused both of them of “joining a banned group (the Muslim Brotherhood).”

Are there others in the refrigerator case?

Only God knows, information is not available, transparency is absent… and so is the rule of law.

The case includes, along with the previously mentioned names, another group which could not be verified, so we only mentioned the names of those with whom we attended investigations or those who the newspapers have written about their investigations under the same case. The case is still open to accommodate new young people from every political background.

And then what?

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) believes that the detention of young people solely on the basis of national security investigations and their ongoing pre-trial detention based on a case lacking justice or logic, is a punishment in disguise by the police bodies, not only against critical voices or opposition to the authority by online activists, but also against citizens who have nothing to do with politics, which shows how obvious the rights and freedoms of citizens are wasted and the policy of impunity.

The case includes many young people from different intellectual and political backgrounds and accusing liberal young people of belonging to the “Muslim Brotherhood” is a source of ridicule on the media and social networking websites.

ANHRI also clearly declares that it is against the arrest of any citizen expressing his views peacefully and through any media outlet, in this regard the channels Al-Sharq and Mekameleen are equal to any other media outlet as long as they do not call for violence or hatred.

ANHRI believes that the public switched to channels such as Al-Sharq and Mekameleen “if ture” came after the security bodies in Egypt took control of many satellite channels, and blocked all means for the citizens to express their concerns and opinions freely.

Finally, in light of the police shutdown of all official means and channels of communication, or the channels to listen to the voice of reason, ANHRI publishes this paper, that it might fall into the hands of any official or judicial authority who has the power to take a decision to stop this legal farce, take measures to restore the judiciary system in Egypt, to respect it true to the law and the constitution, to follow all procedures that provide justice to all citizens regardless of their beliefs and opinions, and to arrest citizens only when they violate the law and when there are proper evidence, incidents and documents.

[1] An article in elfagr newspaper: “Imprisonment of journalists el-Suefi & Abdelaziz along with 3 others 15 days pending the Jerusalem support protests” published on 10 December 2017, last visit on 17 December.