'Disappeared' Egyptian woman reappears in custody

CAIRO, Egypt – It’s not safe walking down the streets of Cairo anymore. It doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, male, female, innocent or guilty. Anyone is a potential victim. And the reason lately has been not bombings but enforced disappearances.

Esraa and her cat in South Sinai earlier this year. PHOTO CREDIT: egyptianchronicles.blogspot.it

Esraa and her cat in South Sinai earlier this year. PHOTO CREDIT: egyptianchronicles.blogspot.it

At 23-year-old, Esraa uses crutches to walk as she’s recovering from a spine injury caused by a stray bullet that hit her during one of the protests in the Egyptian capital.

On June 1, Esraa went out with a couple of friends to have dinner. Following the dinner, she went outside to take a stroll, her friends said, and that’s when she was lost.

Two days later, I was checking my Facebook feed when I saw a post by her sister Duaa. I was very surprised.

Esraa’s family and lawyers looked for her everywhere. They went to hospitals, police stations, prisons, and even several security buildings, to no avail. They sent telegraphs to several officials, asking where Esraa was.

Two weeks later, Duaa wrote on Facebook that a police detective had been to her home to make sure she would be at her sister’s hearing the following morning for questioning. That’s when Duaa became certain that her sister wasn’t lost. She was with the police all along.

Duaa then posted on June 18: “At one thirty in the morning they’re asking mom ‘What do you think about the executions?’ One of them literally said: ‘Do you like [the deposed Egyptian president Mohamed] Morsi? Did Esraa like Morsi?’”

Esraa’s family contacted her lawyers and went to court, only to be told there was no hearing.  According to Duaa, it was rescheduled more than once, always at the last minute. “They're trying to question Esraa without her lawyers,” she said.

ESRAA'S MOTHER, WORRIED FOR HER DAUGHTER'S SAFETY. PHOTO CREDIT: middleeasteye.net

ESRAA'S MOTHER, WORRIED FOR HER DAUGHTER'S SAFETY. PHOTO CREDIT: middleeasteye.net

The charges against Esraa included “defacing the Egyptian military and spreading false tales of violence through social media.” The media afterward claimed Esraa was presented to the prosecution immediately after her arrest, which happened with a warrant based on evidence found on her laptop. 

It was decided that Esraa would return to jail for further investigations. The next hearing was rescheduled again. The result of her latest hearing, which was held on Saturday, June 11, was that Esraa should be returned to prison for 15 more days, again, for further investigations.

Esraa has been imprisoned for six weeks now.

cartoon credit: Clues to Life blog/Curtis