From Behind Bars: Ikhwanweb’s Khaled Hamza Needs your Support
I managed yesterday to enter the Egyptian prison of Tora Farms to visit my friend Khaled Hamza Salam, the editor-in-chief of the Muslim Brotherhood official English website Ikhwanweb.com. The prosecution ordered his detention prolonged for fifteen days on charges of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood and launching an advocacy campaign against referring civilians to military tribunals.
Though seemed steadfast and unaffected by the detention and maltreatment, Khaled complained that he is held in a criminal prison which poses risk to his and his colleagues’ lives because criminals in this prison take drugs publicly inside prison and in the evening they can’t sleep because of the continuous quarrel among these criminals. Khaled said he is detained in a 20m*4m cell that included 51 political prisoners. Every three prisoners use the same place in which they sleep. He said also that beds are formed of three shelves. Every person has a shelf in which he sits and sleeps. Khaled complained also of the poor ventilation and the high humidity in this jail.
Although Hamza’s health is deteriorating and he has some chronic diseases (he informed the state security officers of this) but they refused to move him to a political prison. Hamza suffers from irregular heartbeats, a continuous rise of blood pressure in addition to high cholesterol. He was suffering from regular fainting when he was with us before entering prison.
Khaled told me that he was arrested from the street and was blindfolded and taken to the Lazoghli based State Security Investigations. He faced a number of officers who investigated with him in an illegal manner and threatened him with remaining in prison for a long period of time. Khaled asked me not to detail what he told me about what they faced in the state security headquarters at least for the time being lest this hurts any of his other detained colleagues.
I showed Hamza what was published about him and he asked me to thank everybody that showed solidarity with him particularly Dr. Mona Al Tahawi, journalist Hossam Al Hamalawi, Dr. Violette Dagher, chairwoman of the Paris-based Arab Commission for Human Rights.
Why Was Hamaza Detained
I think that Khaled Hamza was detained mainly because of the main message of Ikhwanweb.com, headed by Hamza in Cairo . Hamza tried through this website to reach out to the other both inside and outside Egypt ,. He opened channels of dialogue with western researchers and figures to show the correct image of the Muslim Brotherhood. This actually disturbed the Egyptian regime that fears that the West may get to know the Muslim Brotherhood as a reformist movement.
Another reason for the detention of Hamza is the regime’s staunch desire to arrest any person who shows reformist views. This happened against MB leaders like Essam El-Erian, Khairat Al-Shater, Mohamed Ali Beshr and Khaled Hamza.
The last reason was Hamza’s activity in exposing the military tribunal and illegal exercises facing Muslim Brotherhood leaders. He offered legal information to a number of human rights activists like Cindy Sheehan, Ramsey Clark, Violette Dagher,
For these reasons, I call all activists and figures who respect freedom of speech to call for the release of Khaled Hamza, the chief editor of IkhwanWeb.com, and to sign this online petition calling for the immediate release of Hamza and all political prisoners in Egypt: