Journalist: Egypt’s police treating us like ‘prisoners or war’

By admin
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 13:45 EDT
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Al Jazeera’s Cairo bureau chief Ayman Mohyeldin said Monday that he was blindfolded, handcuffed and taken in to custody by Egyptian military police the previous day.

He was released after nine hours in detention.

Mohyeldin told the network Monday that he and other detainees were treated like “prisoners of war.”

“As I was making my way into Liberation Square, I was essentially stopped by the Egyptian military, and there was a young recruit there who asked me for my identification,” he explained. “When I presented him with my identification, he asked me ‘What you are coming to do?’”

“I simply said I was a journalist, I didn’t really have any major equipment on me, just a small camera and my cellphones. Immediately it seemed like he was taken aback, surprised perhaps by my identity. At that time they didn’t know who I was working for, and they didn’t ask me, really. It was just the mere fact that I was a journalist who was trying to go into Liberation Square that seemed to be enough for them to take me for further questioning.”

Mohyeldin, a US citizen, was then taken to a nearby makeshift holding area.

“I was handcuffed with plastic wire. I was blindfolded, and I was made to sit on the pavement for about five hours or so with several other people including journalists who were there.”

He was eventually interrogated and asked “intimidating” questions about what he thought of the protests.

“They were ultimately saying to me: What I was doing in Egypt? Why don’t I just go back the the United States where I came from and why I was trying to project a negative image of Egypt to the outside world?”

Mohyeldin described being held with several other journalists and protesters captured in Liberation Square.

“I can tell you from what I saw and from what I heard, a lot of these people were beaten up. They were very — the military was dealing with them in a very aggressive manner. They were slapped, they were kicked,” he said.

“I don’t think it was a matter of trying to coerce them for information, but in essence, the military was dealing with these people as prisoners of war,” Mohyeldin continued.

“These were individuals who were trying to plead for their safety, for their innocence. Many of them were crying, saying they were simply just caught up in the wrong moment. But the military showed no mercy, and on a few occasions they really roughed them up pretty badly. They kicked them in the back of their heads.”

“One of the soldiers that was there had with him a small Taser gun. He was instantly instigating that Taser to try to scare the prisoners, or the detainees, really, into submission and behaving. Many of them had their shirts taken off of them. And many of them were also severely whipped and slapped and essentially pushed around in a way to kind of control them even though they weren’t doing anything that was very disobedient,” he added.

Thousands of Egyptians returned to Liberation Square Tuesday in opposition to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Many said that Tuesday’s demonstrations were the biggest so far.

This video is from Al Jazeera, broadcast Feb. 7, 2011.

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  • Anonymous

    Silence speaks volumes.

    Try watching Al Jazeera, folks. After all those years of false education, you might find you have been lied to.


  • http://www.facebook.com/rambotheshark Robin Cooper

    Sounds like the same police tactics used at the national party conventions during the elections and anytime the WTO meets.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PSKROFVS7E4PVTI2CEPLFWEJII John

    Even as bad as this story is, ya gotta admit….they’re still treating these people kinder than the U.S. Military treated those college kids, on their way to classes, at Kent State University, on May 4th, 1970.

  • Anonymous

    What else can be expected from a vice president whose main job duty entitled torturing people for the CIA till they confessed to things they hadn’t done but which were needed by the US in order to invade oil-rich countries?

  • Anonymous

    And yet in the midst of all this we have a new direction from the US Government!



  • Anonymous

    I keep trying to remind people of the way the left was treated by this country during the late 60s and early 70s but they just don’t seem to get it, John!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLF5SUA5RDYXG54WWF5SHMVRAI X

    Keep in mind, when you read this stuff, that Egypt is simply following policy agreed upon by Barack Obama. Obama doesn’t give a shit about Americans. He works with and for other dictators. This is what happens when you throw in with torturers.

  • Anonymous

    The Neo-Zionist assholes have spoken. No change.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2NPRPRYZC3RF424Y4G4NKPY3FM Anya O

    People need to think about the fact that these same things have been said by journalists attending protests in the UNITED STATES! This isn’t just something those “evil” Middle Eastern governments do. This type of thing also happens in the land of the (supposed) free.

  • Anonymous

    Suleiman Gave Us the IRAQ War “Inteligence”?

    Egypt’s Vice-President Omar Suleiman is the nation’s former spy chief, a friend of the US, a reported torturer, and has long been touted as the next presidential successor. Known by the name Sheik al-Torture to the protestors in Egypt, Suleiman is Americans new “it” man in Egypt, explained Asia times journalist Pepe Escobar.


  • http://ray032.com/ Ray Joseph Cormier

    Watching the situation in Egypt, I have that sense of deja vu.

    Wasn’t it Moses the Law Giver that said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go?” History really does repeat itself.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    “He works with and for other dictators. This is what happens when you throw in with torturers.”
    And that is the simple and tragic truth.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    2012 Obama election slogan: ‘Change for the worse you can believe in’

    You heard it here first.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Not really. They are running a high-power public relations campaign but in actual fact, military intelligence is responsible for most of the arbitrary arrests and detention, though the media largely manages to miss that. The secret police are subservient to the military as this is without a doubt a military dictatorship above all and has been so for 50 years +/-.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Not at all. Disappearances and torture of common citizens are not to be taken lightly. I assume you have seen the CNN video of the guy who was murdered by gunfire in cold blood by now. The Military and secret police are fanned out arresting and detaining identified facebookers and bloggers as we speak. Not even close to any US crackdowns including the worst in memory. keep in mind that the Ministry of the Interior is a 1.6 million person bureaucracy whose very reason for existence is to control and suppress dissent by any means necessary including kidnapping, torture and murder.

  • Anonymous

    For those who have read any of my posts discussing the relevance of the film “Z” to the situation in Egypt, it will be broadcast commercial free on TCM tomorrow morning at 11:15 ET/8:15 PT. This is a great opportunity to see this film from 1969, uncut in its original Widescreen format. It is well worth the time spent. For those who will be at work you might consider taping it. It is a politically important and relevant film.

  • http://gaia-health.com/ Heidi Stevenson

    But Mubarak’s hands are dirty with US money.

  • Anonymous


  • Sandi

    If they want Egypt to be shown in a good light then the police should put down their weapons and join the rest of their people.


  • Maynard Moses

    There were 4 dead in Ohio and 2 dead in Jackson State in Mississippi on May 4 and May 14th, 1970. Total of 6.

    Human Rights Watch says at least 302 are dead in Egypt.

    So no one who has paid attention would say what you just said.

    Also, it was the Ohio National Guard and the Mississippi State Police,
    not the US military. State vs. federal. Federal would have been a
    violation of the posse comitatus law. Posse comitatus, which prevents
    use of the US military on US territory, wasn’t violated until the standoff
    at PIne Ridge Reserveation in South Dakota in 1972.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PSKROFVS7E4PVTI2CEPLFWEJII John

    Oh, I was paying plenty of attention Maynard. You see….I was there the day the National Guard murdered the kids at Kent. I was paying attention…making sure that my ass was pressed as flat to the ground as it could get. Bullets were flying. Kids heads were exploding with blood and flesh. Yeah, it was the National Guard and the the National Guard is part of the U.S. Military. Thousands of Guardsmen are overseas, fighting at this very moment. Maynard….every bullet that hit those kids was a U.S. Military bullet. So far, none of these reporters that are whining, have been killed. The story is about the reporters, not the members of the general public that have been killed.

  • Ignatzfattis

    Thanks for the heads up! Unfortunately I missed most of it, but what I did see looked really good -I’ll keep my eye out for it in the future.