Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Letter from Mohamed Maree

This is a letter sent from prison by Mohamed Maree, the translator who was arrested with James Buck in Mahalla. It was given to me by a lawyer.

This is my very rough, very quick, translation.


This is a letter from the liberal Egyptian blogger Mohamed Saleh Ahmed Maree, currently detained in the Borg El-Arab prison in connection with his involvement in the events of 6 April in Mahalla.

It is hoped that this letter will be published in order that everyone is made aware of the humiliation, abuse of humanity and indignity this detainee is facing inside this prison at the hands of the prison’s administration. This treatment violates all laws and human rights principles protecting his dignity and humanity.

I would like to first make clear some important points. I was detained in connection with my involvement in the events of 6 April in Mahalla. I am being held in Wing 23, Borg El-Arab prison, and am being held in criminal detention. I am being held with people accused of selling drugs, possession of illegal weapons and of illegal migration despite the fact that the charges against me are political. The charges against me are interviewing the relatives of those involved in riots in Mahalla el Kobra and taking photographs in places which were destroyed during the events of 6 April.

When I started a hunger strike in protest at the mistreatment inside the prison, and in order to demand my transfer to a political detainees’ wing, my demand was refused and all I could do was accept the reality in front of me and wait until this treatment ended.

What happened to me afterwards was treatment worse than anyone can accept and give into. On the night of Tuesday 20th May I was verbally and physically humiliated in numerous ways by individuals from state security investigations, in the presence of an officer during their search of our room. When I protested to the officer the policeman’s lack of respect for my humanity and base abuse of my dignity, the officer said that these are the prison’s rules, and they apply to everyone without exception. I informed him that there is no law allowing a person to be humiliated, and that what this policeman had done was disgraceful and that it is difficult to ignore or stay silent about it.

This is the first time that I am detained in my life. I had believed that Egypt has true features of democracy, but unfortunately even these features only exist for the protection of an illegitimate group.

We are currently strangers in our own country. Why are we being detained here? Why was I taken to prison merely because of my belief in the idea of liberal thought – which they previously tried to apply and which failed on both the economic and social levels.

Everything happening in Egypt at the moment is hypothetical. This imaginary picture being used to present a false reality has no basis in reality. For example:

- There “exists” a fair judicial system in Egypt whose judgements are applied by the Interior Ministry.

- There “exists” in Egypt human rights organisations - as if these organisations pursue their activities with complete freedom without restrictions or surveillance by security bodies.

- 80 million people live in Egypt, this huge number, and it is as if not one of this number can succeed Mobarak except his son.

- Egypt also “has” political parties – as if these political parties are known, and have a presence in society, and operate without any restrictions on them by the state.

- Egypt “has” political party, and independent, newspapers - as if the corruption exposed in these newspapers is investigated, and wrong-doers brought to justice.

- Egypt “has” an educational system - as if this system produces individuals qualified in their fields and able to enter life in a way which enables them to find suitable employment.

- Egypt “has” a security apparatus embodied in the interior ministry - as if this interior ministry protects and provides security for all Egyptians and is not dedicated to protecting the ruling elite.

- Egypt “has” prisons run by the interior ministry - as if these prisons are uniquely for criminals who pose a danger to society and do not hold political detainees and political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and as if these prisons protect human rights and respect prisoners’ humanity.

- Egypt “has” a parliament - as if this parliament holds free and fair elections, devoid of any rigging. It also has presidential elections - as if the nomination procedures for these elections against president Mubarak are not replete with oppression of potential candidates, of fabrication of cases against them, of their imprisonment, and of the prosecution of their followers and supporters.

- Egypt “has” a Culture Ministry - as if this ministry has succeeded in changing Egyptian culture and making what was absolutely negative, absolutely positive.

- Egypt “has” privatisation - as if this system is applied on the basis of sound studies rather than in a haphazard way.

We live a counterfeit life. We live in a state of economic, social and political corruption, and face this bitter reality without a giving a damn. The truth of this corruption is not exposed - a direct result of the falsifying of reality and false claims that Egypt is currently at its zenith, while what happens in respectable countries is the opposite – the success of these countries’ genuine economic and political systems is reflected in their images abroad: any attempt to falsify the reality in these countries fails.

What then is the solution? This is the question the answer to which must be found.

Signed: the Egyptian liberal blogger, Mohamed Saleh Ahmed Maree, a student of the faculty of veterinary medicine, Mansoura University.


Memz said...

Hey Amnesiac,

This is a powerful, sad but true letter. I have one problem with it why is the author identified as a blogger?

It seems he was arrested because he was a political activist so shouldnt he be described as such. Based on the letter and his words there is no coorelation between him blogging and him getting arrested, so he should not be falsely portrayed as a victim of Internet censorship.

Portraying as such, weakens the case of any potential victims of security harrasment due to their blogging activities.

Amnesiac said...

Hiya Memz - I just translated what he wrote! I didn't know he was a blogger, aslan.

Anonymous said...

Someone should contact HAMSA, the hands Across the Middle East Support Alliance.

They are helping me make publicity for a Yemeni journalist. They are professionalk civil rights activists here in the US who take up these kinds of cases. is me.

Worthy Oriental Gentleman said...

Thank you for posting, Amnesiac

Memz said...

Sweet :) Just wanted to make the point. I hope they release him.