Sunday, February 8, 2009


Philip Rizk, a German-Egyptian human rights activist and journalist working on behalf of the Gaza's besieged population, was abducted Friday night by Egyptian security forces while returning to Cairo from a solidarity demonstration in the northern suburbs. Police detained a vehicle carrying activists for several hours before transferring Rizk to a second vehicle without license plates and speeding off. The twenty six year old activist had previously lived among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for two years, more recently he has produced a film detailing their non-violent resistance and worked to bring medical supplies into the region after Israel's latest invasion.

Anti-torture campaigner Aida Seif El Dawla who runs the Nadim Center commented that Rizk “is in the custody of State Security, which means illegal detention and a high probability of torture and ill treatment." Although no charges have been filed his kidnapping comes as the regime is cracking down on criticism of its decision not to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza in the wake of devastating attacks. The government raided two peaceful pro-Gaza rallies organized by the banned Muslim Brotherhood detaining over seventy people including Gamal Abdel Salam, head of the Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate Relief Committee. Critics of the government are regularly detained. Some such as blogger Kareem Amer have remained in custody for years.

Despite its horrific human rights record and repression of democracy Egypt is a key American ally and receives billions of dollars every year as the world's second largest recipient of American aid after Israel. The Egyptian police state, presided over by a kleptocratic band of thugs, is entirely illegitimate. This is a government so corrupt that the state-run newspaper felt it a newsworthy item when President Hosni Mubarak paid an import tax, it is a government so dictatorial that its leader openly acknowledges having rigged his way to victory in multiple elections, and it is a government so repressive that the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights believes that up to 16,000 people are being held without charge where they face torture, lack of medical care, poor sanitation, overcrowding, and other deplorable conditions.

The level of support that the U.S gives to the clique of thugs running Egypt is entirely unjustifiable, but given the U.S is unlikely to relinquish its relationship with the puppet President Hosni Mubarak Americans need to insure their government utilizes that influence to mitigate the damage this regime causes to human rights. The first step in that process is education. Please spread the word about Rizk's case. You can read his blog here.



nindee said...

A brave man. I hope he's ok...
I'll write about him in my blog too.
Thanks for the post.

Young Activist said...

Thanks for stopping by an passing this along.