Free Mosa’ab ElShamy and Tarek Shalaby

May 18, 2011 —

Mosa’ab ElShamy and Tarek Shalaby have been detained by the Egyptian army after live-tweeting and taking video of the protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. About 168 people were taken from the protest to military prisons, 136 are still detained, about 300 were injured, and at least one was shot.

I wasn’t there. I’m in Canada. I might get some things wrong. But from what I have pieced together this is what happened.

Protest at Israeli Embassy in Cairo

On May 15, 2011, Mosa’ab and Tarek separately made their way to the Israeli Embassy to the protest on the 63rd anniversary of Nabka. When they got there, the protest was already in progress. The protesters were non-violent. Some of them may have burned an Israeli flag. The army threw several canisters of tear gas into the crowd. There was a verbal confrontation between some protesters and a soldier, and some pushing on the barricades. The army fired live ammunition into the air. At least one person, Atef Yehia Ibrahim, was injured from a shot to the head and was taken to a hospital. Many of the other protesters were rounded up by the army. Tarek managed to continue taking video while he was caught by the army.

Hykestep Military Prison

The next day, Tarek’s sister Nora Shalaby spent hours figuring out that they had been taken to Hykestep military prison. She talked her way into seeing Tarek and Mosa’ab for 5 minutes. At that time they said they were ok and had been treated well. Another prisoner named Sadaty had been badly beaten.

The day after that, they were taken to a military tribunal to be questioned, although the army gave conflicting information about that. It is very difficult to find out what is going on.

Apparently they, and the others detained from the Israeli Embassy protest, will be held for 15 days, during which they will be questioned, and perhaps turned over to a military court.

The Egyptian army has been repeatedly sending civilians to military courts. That’s not supposed to be the way things work. Many people have been given prison sentences as a result of participating in peaceful protests. It’s an ongoing problem.

Mosaab ElShamy after voting in the Egyptian constitutional referendum

Mosaab ElShamy after voting in the Egyptian constitutional referendum

This is a photo of Mosa’ab Elshamy on March 19, 2011. His thumb is pink to indicate that he had voted in the referendum on the constitution. He stood in line for hours to vote, and he wrote “Voted 🙂 I don’t care how corny it is, but I’m keeping this to tell my kids about it someday.”

I’ve been reading tweets and blog posts by Mosa’ab and Tarek, and looking at their photos. They have participated in and documented the January 25th Egyptian revolution from the beginning. They have inspired me, and informed me with their courage, their eye-witness reports, their senses of humour, their insights.

This situation is likely to keep changing daily. Here are some sites that I’ll be checking to get ongoing information.

Tarek Shalaby’s sister Nora Shalaby (@norashalaby on Twitter), Flickr, Blog
Lawyer Ragia Omran (@rago_legal on Twitter)
Mosa’ab ElShamy’s brothers:
Abdallah ElShamy (@abdallahelshamy on Twitter) reporter for Al Jazeera
Anas ElShamy (@anaselshamy on Twitter)
Mohammed ElShamy (@melshamy on Twitter)

Free Mosa'ab ElShamy and Free Tarek Shalaby pages on Facebook

Twitter hashtags
#freetarek #freeshalaby #freetarekshalaby
#israelembassy #israeliembassy

Sites from Mosa’ab and Tarek themselves, unlikely to change until after they are released
Mosa’ab Elshamy:
Twitter (@mosaaberizing)
Flickr (Mosa'aberising)

Tarek Shalaby:
Twitter (@tarekshalaby)
Facebook page with photos from Tarek’s trip to take medical supplies to Libya

They were also featured in a book called Tweets From Tahrir.

Sites about the incident itself
Mosa'ab ElShamy's photo of the street on the way to the protest
A video of Mosa'ab ElShamy just before he was detained by the army
The video taken by Tarek Shalaby as he was being detained by the army
Article from Cairo newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm about the protest.
New York Times blog about the protest.
Handwritten medical report on Atef Yehia Ibrahim (includes frontal lobe damage)

Update: Within two weeks of their arrest, both Mosa’ab Elshamy and Tarek Shalaby were released from prison.

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