Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1129, 3 - 9 January 2013
Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Issue 1129, 3 - 9 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

Physicians missing

The detention of three Egyptian doctors in the UAE triggered angry reaction from the Doctors Syndicate

Al-Ahram Weekly

Three Egyptian doctors were detained and taken to an unknown destination by security forces in the United Arab Emirates two weeks after being banned from returning to Egypt, reports Ahmed Morsy. Until Al-Ahram Weekly went to press, the reasons for their detention remained unclear.
According to the Doctors Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee, the doctors were identified as Mohamed Ali Sonbol, Mohamed Shohda and Abdallah Zazaa. The three were arrested by security agencies which whisked them away from their homes to unknown destinations without giving legal reasons for their detention. The doctors’ families were also prevented from leaving.
Mohamed Abdel-Hamid, a member of the Freedoms Committee at the Doctors Syndicate was tasked with handling the issue, said a statement issued by the Doctors Syndicate on Saturday.
Abdel-Hamid contacted the families of the doctors. Sonbol’s daughter Asmaa told Abdel-Hamid that her father was in Dubai Airport on 18 December, about to fly to Egypt to spend his annual vacation. “There, security officials informed him that he was banned from travelling,” said Asmaa.
“Shortly after, we went back home only to find UAE security forces raiding our residence, without any explanation. They bound my father and took him away. They also seized his personal computer,” Asmaa said, according to Abdel-Hamid’s narration.
“My mother then went to the police station and to the prosecutor’s office to ask about the reasons behind her husband’s arrest. However, they claimed they knew nothing about him,” Asmaa added. Abdel-Hamid confirmed that the other two doctors were prevented from leaving the UAE before being arrested the same way.
The Doctors Syndicate condemned the detention of the doctors and sent an official letter to Egypt’s foreign minister calling on him to take urgent action “to resolve this issue and release the three doctors.”
Abdallah Al-Karioni, Muslim Brotherhood assistant secretary-general and rapporteur of the Doctors Syndicate Liberties Committee, said that if Egyptian authorities did not respond to the syndicate’s demands and released the doctors, “we will stage demonstrations and sit-ins outside the UAE embassy in Cairo.” On Tuesday, a sit-in was staged in front of the UAE embassy.
“The committee addressed President Mohamed Morsi, the Arab League, the National Council for Human Rights, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Shura Council to intervene and resolve the crisis and secure the immediate release of the detained doctors,” Al-Karioni said through a released statement.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amr Roshdi stressed that the ministry was in contact with Egypt’s consulate and embassy in the UAE to reach a settlement to the crisis. No further information was provided by the ministry.
Al-Karioni added that the new post-revolution Egypt “will not accept the rights and dignity of Egyptians being violated”. He stressed that such acts affect the “good and fraternal relations between the two peoples”, according to the statement. Al-Karioni said the syndicate had contacted many UAE officials who criticised the actions of their country’s government.
The Press Syndicate also called on Egyptian authorities to investigate the reasons behind detaining an Egyptian journalist in the UAE. Ahmed Gaafar, an Egyptian journalist who runs a private media centre in Dubai, was reported to have disappeared two weeks ago while on his way home from work in Dubai. His family said that all of his personal belongings had also vanished.
Dubai police revealed that they had detained Gaafar a week ago. Gaafar’s family urged the Press Syndicate and the Arab Journalists Union to intervene and demanded information about his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention.
Karem Mahmoud, the syndicate’s secretary, said the board received a complaint from the family on Saturday and that the syndicate contacted the Foreign Ministry regarding the circumstances of his detention.

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