The Egyptian authorities arrested the parents of a former university student, Anas Al-Mahdi, who was killed by the police in 2015.
“My parents have been arrested by the Egyptian police,” Al-Mahdi’s sister, Hind, wrote on Facebook.
“I’m not going to talk about my father, who I haven’t yet heard from him, or my brother Abdullah, who was sentenced to spend his entire life in prison, or my other brother Anas who was killed by the Egyptian police,” Hind said, adding: “I’m talking about my mother who bursts into tears once she hears Anas’ name.”
“Over the past three years, my mum has not left the home except to visit Anas’ grave or Abdullah in jail,” Al-Mahdi stressed.
Anas was shot dead by the Egyptian police forces in May 2015 during an anti-military coup protest which was taking place inside the Cairo University compound.
In 2013, the Egyptian army, under the command of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, broke up pro-democracy demonstrations in the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square, killing almost 4,000 people. The massacre took place just weeks after the military coup which brought Al-Sisi to power.
Since then, Al-Sisi’s government worked on repressing of all forms of dissent. The government introduced a host of repressive laws, reinstated the abusive state of emergency, and sent thousands of civilians to military courts that, along with civilian courts, issued scores of death sentences in flawed trials.
Al-Sisi’s government tightly controls local media outlets, prosecutes critical journalists and activists, and maintains a zero-tolerance policy for exercising the right to peaceful assembly.
According to Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, It appears that applying violence and repression to decimate the rule of law and the peaceful opposition is al-Sisi’s primary ‘accomplishment.’
The Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency (NSA), operating with near-absolute impunity, was responsible for some of the most flagrant abuses in 2017, including the widespread and systematic use of torture to coerce confessions, typically after security forces forcibly disappeared detainees.
There were also several incidents of what appeared to be extrajudicial killings, including of previously detained people in staged “shoot-outs.”