Egypt detains family members of exiled activist as security forces prevent protests
The Egyptian authorities this week detained the father and brother of exiled anti-regime YouTuber Abdullah El-Sherif in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, amid an absence of protests despite previous calls for them to be held on Friday.
Sherif’s father was arrested on Monday after his son posted a leaked video on Twitter, showing a woman being ordered to praise President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi while being interviewed by the pro-government media outlet Youm 7.
The leaked video’s content varied from the edited version video run by the outlet. Sherif’s brother was arrested three days later.
ًوانا إسمي عبدالله الشريف— عبدالله الشريف (@AbdullahElshrif) November 6, 2022
وسامحوني على كثافة النشر الفترة الجاية علشان هصدعكم، وعاوز المصريين يصوروا فيديوهات حقيقية مش زي بتاعت نوران واليوم السابع، ويبعتوهالي على رقم الواتس ده
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وشكراً لمن سرب فيديو نوران قبل المونتاج 😚 pic.twitter.com/Mg5hMZDYAe
“My mother and sister went out yesterday to visit my brother on the outskirts of Alexandria and found his house turned upside down and [learned] that he had been arrested,” Sherif tweeted.
In Sherif's latest YouTube episode entitled "An Appointment with Freedom," he urged Egyptians to go down the streets of the country to protest against President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
No further details about the two men’s whereabouts or charges against them were immediately available.
In 2020, two of Sherif's other brothers were arrested after he broadcast a video allegedly showing an army officer mutilating a man’s dead body in North Sinai, which went viral.
The footage attracted about three million views in the first five days after it had was shared by activist Nermine Hussein. She was arrested after sharing it on her Twitter page.
Even though Sherif has frequently denied being affiliated with any political group, pro-government Egyptian media has accused him of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was designated a "terrorist" group in 2014.
It has been common for authorities under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's rule to detain family members of exiled activists to intimidate them or force them to return to Egypt.
Sisi's government is regularly condemned by human rights groups who say there are currently an estimated 60,000 political prisoners behind bars.
In a related development, extreme security measures were put in place in Egypt on Friday, following calls for protests earlier this month against economic mismanagement and a collapsing currency.
Uniformed security forces in armoured vehicles were seen in residential areas and squares across Egypt, as as well as undercover informants disguised as street vendors.
No protests took place in Egypt despite high expectations and widespread calls on social media due to the oppressive security presence.
However Egyptians living in exile in Istanbul, London and New York held demonstrations against the Sisi government.