A protest calling for the release of an injured student who has been hunger striking for almost 20 days in prison is planned for Thursday in downtown Cairo. Mohanad Samir has been in police custody since January following a protest at which he was shot in December 2011. In need of surgery, his mother wants him released from prison due to his medical condition.
Heba Abdel-Kader, Samir’s mother, said her son was shot in the thigh while protesting in Tahrir Square. “During the events of the cabinet, on 20 December, they [Samir and other protesters] were cornered by Central Security Forces and the army. Samir was shot in the thigh and Ramy came running to him but he was shot in the chest and he died.”
Ramy Al-Sharkawy was among the protesters who died in the brutal crackdown led by security against protesters who took part in the cabinet protests in December 2011. During investigations, Samir told police that he could identify Al-Sharkawy’s killer.
Mohamed Al-Masry, who is organising Thursday’s protest on behalf of Samir’s mother, said Samir filed a lawsuit against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. When he went to give a statement at the Azbakeya Police Department he was taken to the Cairo Directorate of Security and never returned.
“He went to the Azbakeya Police Department with a lawyer from Tahrir,” Abdel-Kader said. “They called me to ask my permission to go to the directorate and the lawyer assured me that he would return him to me… At 11, their phones were turned off and at 12, the lawyer called and said he was told, ‘whoever comes in, doesn’t come out.’”
His mother was not allowed to see him for ten days after he was detained. During detention, Samir had a stroke because of his thigh injury. He is now being tried for the same set of vague charges most protesters are accused with, “gathering, disrupting traffic, burning and damaging facilities, making Molotov cocktails,” Abdel-Kader said.
At a hearing in July, his release was requested but instead another hearing was set for 20 October. Abdel-Kader says Samir’s leg hasn’t healed but she doesn’t want him to have surgery in hospital. She wants him to be bailed based on his medical conditions so that he can get the surgery he should have had months ago.
Another event held in solidarity with Samir featured student groups forming a human chain on Qasr Al-Nil bridge and the launch of “Detained Students Day,” calling for the release of Samir and another student.