'Egypt arrests mother' cited in BBC story on police abuse

Um Zubeida tells BBC about her daughter whom she has not seen for 10 months after being physically abused by police.

    The developments come several weeks before Egypt's presidential elections [Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters]
    The developments come several weeks before Egypt's presidential elections [Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters]

    Egyptian authorities are learnt to have arrested a mother who accused the police of torturing her daughter and her while they were detained in 2014.

    Using the pseudonym Um Zubeida (mother of Zubeida), the woman spoke to the BBC about her 23-year old daughter, whom she has not seen for 10 months.

    Zubeida was arrested and physically abused again by police in 2016; upon her release, she was so traumatised she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital by her family to recover.

    Ten months ago, she disappeared while out with her brother.

    Um Zubeida said Egyptian authorities tortured her daughter in 2016 after accusing her of having connections to banned groups and planning attacks.

    The BBC report also details four other personal stories about human-rights abuses in Egypt.

    Al Jazeera could not independently verify the claims made in the BBC story.

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    Ezzat Ghoneim, the human rights lawyer who reported the woman's arrest on social media, has gone missing, according to the organisation he works with.

    The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms said Ghoneim disappeared on Thursday on his way home.

    The BBC report led to a call from the country's foreign press centre to boycott the British broadcasting company, claiming the story was "flagrantly fraught with lies".

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi also responded indirectly to the BBC story, saying that any criticism of the country's security forces should be seen as "high treason".

    His comments came a day after a call by Egypt's top prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, for legal action against news outlets that publish "false news, statements and rumours". 

    "[This decision comes] in light of recent attempts by the forces of evil to undermine the safety and security of the nation by broadcasting and spreading lies," a statement by the prosecutor said.

    Since the Arab Spring, Egypt has seen several crackdowns on media critical to the government, including Al Jazeera.

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    Between 2013 and 2015, three Al Jazeera journalists - Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste - were detained by Egypt for allegedly spreading false news.

    The three were eventually released, but new arrests against Al Jazeera journalists were made in 2017 when Mahmoud Hussein was arrested.

    Hussein was taken by Egyptian security officers on December 20 last year and accused of reporting "false news with the aim of creating chaos".

    Al Jazeera has strenuously denied the allegations made by Egyptian authorities against its journalists.

    Friday's news also comes several weeks in advance of the Egypt presidential elections, which will take place at the end of March.

    El-Sisi is poised to win those elections after most of his opponents withdrew from the race.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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