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Egypt: Dissident briefly detained over planning online meeting on 2011 revolution

Ghad al-Thawra party says member and former army officer Hossam Shehata was taken for questioning despite his poor health
Former army colonel Hossam El-Din Shehata was detained on Wednesday 14 September 2022, Ghad al-Thawra said (Supplied)

The Egyptian opposition party Ghad al-Thawra, now run from exile in France, said that one of its founding members was shortly detained from his home in Cairo after planning an online meeting with exiled dissidents. 

The former army colonel, Hossam el-Din Shehata, was arrested late on Tuesday after five security officers stormed his raided his house and took him to an unknown location, the party said in a statement sent to Middle East Eye.

He was interrogated until the early morning, then referred to the State Security Prosecution for investigation into his online posts, before he was released on Wednesday evening.

hossam shehata army egypt
Hossam Shehata as an army officer (Supplied)

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Ghad al-Thawra said that Shehata recently underwent several surgical procedures at a military hospital, including a complete amputation of his right leg and left arm due to complications relating to serious diseases in the heart and arteries, as well as diabetes.

Shehata is considered one of the more outspoken activists on social media, including Clubhouse, where he was planning to host a session on Egypt's 2011 pro-democracy revolution on Wednesday evening.

Ayman Nour, the president of Ghad al-Thawra, was set to be the main speaker. 

The party expressed “its shock and regret” over the arrest of Shehata, “in light of his difficult health conditions and the impossibility of remaining in detention in light of his mobility disability.”

Nour described Shehata's arrest as “a decision to execute” the army veteran. 

Nour is a former presidential candidate who ran against Hosni Mubarak in 2005 and is also a critic of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

After the coup led by Sisi in 2013 and the susequent crackdown on the opposition, Nour left Egypt and has become a vocal opposition figures in exile, now living in Istanbul. 

Egyptian prisons and detention centres are notorious for their poor healthcare facilities and mistreatment of political prisoners. Hundreds of detainees have died in custody since 2013. 

It is estimated that at least 60,000 political prisoners currently languish in Egyptian prisons, many of them held in pre-trial detention.

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