The family of Alaa Abd El Fattah, well-known writer, activist and software developer, reported on Sunday morning that he did not emerge from the Dokki police station, where he sleeps every night as part of a legally contested five-year probation sentence.
According to Abd El Fattah’s sister, Mona Seif, the family was told that he was detained by the National Security Agency and taken to State Security Prosecution. Lawyer Khaled Ali told Mada Masr several hours later that Abd El Fattah was present at the State Security Prosecution headquarters in Fifth Settlement, but he had not yet been charged. Mada Masr later learned that both men were assigned to Case 1356/2019 and held on four charges, none of which have been formally confirmed: “joining an illegal organization”, “receiving foreing funding”, “spreading false news”, and “misusing social media.”
“We do not know where Alaa is. Dokki police station claims he went to State Security Prosecution. But moments before that they told us he left his probation, although our mother who was waiting outside the station did not see him leave. So we are being given this talk but we do not have any real information, and until he is seen at the prosecution we consider Alaa to be kidnapped by State Security, with the assistance of Dokki police,” Seif, Abd El Fattah’s sister, posted on Twitter.
Abd El Fattah’s arrest comes in the midst of a massive arrest campaign following scattered anti-regime protests. At least 2,200 people have been arrested since September 20, according to rights groups.
According to a statement published by the family on Sunday, Abd El Fattah’s family has made sure to pick him up at the station every morning. “This morning, his mother Leila Souief was stopped by security at the street corner and prevented from approaching the station’s gates,” the statement said.
Since his release following a five-year prison sentence in March, Abd El Fattah has written about the conditions of his probation, in which he is locked in a kiosk-turned-cell for 12 hours after turning himself into Dokki police station at 6 pm every day. These probation measures have been imposed on many political prisoners arrested since 2013.
One of the most prominent and independent voices of the 2011 revolution, Abd El Fattah has a long record of dissent, writing and protesting against police violence and other forms of state violence. He was also arrested under former Presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi.
His writing since his release, much of which has been published on this website, is mostly drafted by hand during his nightly probation.