Egypt Releases Christian Rights Activist

Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Tag Cloud

Worthy News Middle East Service

CAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News) -- A Christian human rights activist and Internet writer spent his first weekend in freedom Saturday, February 14, after he was suddenly released by Egyptian security forces.

Philip Rizk, a dual Egyptian-German citizen, told reporters he was detained last Friday, February 6, and held in solitary confinement for four days while friends, family and German diplomats inquired about his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention.

Then he was abruptly dropped off at his Cairo apartment before dawn Wednesday, February 11. "I was repeatedly questioned about everything and I was terrified," he said.  "Although I was not abused physically, I was blind-folded all the time. Officers kept saying to me: "Do you know what we can do to you?", and I was threatened with long term imprisonment."

He said they asked him if he supported the militant group Hamas, was working for Israel, "and, being Christian, if I was an evangelist."  He also studied at the evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois, U.S. and is a graduate student at American University in Cairo.

He said however that he was never informed of any charges against him.


Yet, rights groups say his detention could be linked to his critical writings on the Internet and his participation in a recent small march outside Cairo calling for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip — a closure imposed by Egypt and Israel after Hamas gunmen seized control of the Palestinian territory in June 2007.

Rizk called himself lucky because he was held "only a few days" and wasn't hurt, ascribing that to his dual nationality and a spirited campaign for his release conducted by friends.

Rather than physical abuse, "it was more the threats of what could happen to me if I were not to say the truth," Rizk said. "I heard sounds of things going on around me," including screams, he said. "I don't know if they were recordings or they were actually taking place — people being tortured."

Human rights groups allege that torture, including sexual abuse, is commonplace for Egypt's estimated 18,000 political prisoners, including at least half a dozen young Internet writers, also known as bloggers.


Just two hours drive away from Rizk's neighborhood in Cairo, Amaal Abdel Fattah Taha was red in the face, sobbing in fear, terrified that her son, Diaa Eddin Gad, had been killed by the state. Gad, 23, a high school dropout and blogger, was arrested Friday, Febrary 6, too, when four police officers grabbed him as he stepped outside the door of his family's apartment.

Like Rizk, he was reportedly taken away after he participated in public demonstrations in support of Gaza — and in opposition to Egypt's policies toward Gaza. And as in Rizk's case, the government has not said where he is being held, or why, or when he may come home.

"You think they killed him? Why are they hiding him? Did they kill him?" The International Herald Tribune news paper quoted his mother as saying, while she cried inside their run-down, cramped two-room apartment in a village just north of Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta region.

Risk's Website Tabula Gaza, highlighting the plight of Palestinians in Gaza,
could not be reached Saturday, February 14, after authorities apparently closed it for public viewing. "They have taken my blog down on which I worked since 2006," Rizk complained.


Security forces also took his, "three digital cameras, one video camera, a mobile phone, an I Pod, thirty CDs and DVDs, a number of books and reference papers, personal documents, sixty camera films, a laptop case, a large travel bag, three hard drives and a handbag containing personal effects," said The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

ANHRI told Worthy News it is concerned that the especially seizure "of e-mail passwords" and the blog, "means that they are out of Philip's control and that therefore any message purportedly published by him, may not necessarily be genuine."

For now his sister is celebrating his return. "It was really hard because we had so many false alarms that he was being released...Now he has been released, just in time for his [27th] birthday," she said shortly after his release. "Before this happened we had planned a big party on our balcony with dancing and food, and now we really have something to celebrate.”

However there is no reason for celebration for many other bloggers and political activists, including Christians, who remain detained in Egypt's prisons, rights watchers warned. (With reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos).

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4 thoughts on “Egypt Releases Christian Rights Activist”

  1. The Israel/Palestine conflict needs to be put into perspective. I use California as an example, because that's where I am. Adapt this perspective to your own area. What if Britain had agreed to give half of California to the Zionists for them to establish a "Jewish State"? Take note that prior to UN involvement the Zionist's stated goal included all of California plus Nevada. Would Californians have agreed to the UN partitioning their land even if Nevada got to keep theirs? What if we didn't and the Zionists took it by force anyway? What if when we resisted we were bombed by an advanced military, and then labeled as "terrorists" for fighting back? What if the world sat back and just let it happen? The high mountain desert where I am would be our occupied West Bank, and LA our war torn Gaza strip. How would you explain sanctions and occupation to your kids? What if a nation like America funded and supported it? How do you explain that? What about the displaced people from San Fransisco, Sacramento, etc, do they ever get to go home? Who would your kids blame for all of the undue hardships in their lives?

    I wish for the best for all the Jewish people, but not at someone else's expense. Israel's identity as a "Jewish State" can not take priority over justice. It's time for the world to stand up for Palestine, for justice, and the 'Right of Return'. Peace comes first, it is the only possible path, the rhetoric has to end and the correct conditions created. To move forward, peace and security for all the people is the only correct answer. It's time to set things straight, and make sure the whole situation is finally put into perspective. It's time for peace, and we're not backing down.

    • The Record

      "Peace Peace" Says The Hunter Of The Jew

      "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace." Jeremiah 6:14

      But The LORD Says "They Shall Call Them The Holy People"

      "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth."

      "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name."

      "Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."

      "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married."

      "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."

      "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,"

      "And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."

      "The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:"

      "But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness."

      "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people."

      "Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him."

      "And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." Isaiah 62


      And Blessed Is The Nation Who Loves The Jew In His Time Of Trouble

      "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:"

      "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:"

      "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."

      "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"

      "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:"

      "Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me."

      "Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?"

      "When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?"

      "Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?"

      "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

      "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"

      "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:"

      "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."

      "Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?"

      "Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

      "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." Matthew 25:31-46

      Oh Rejoice Lovers Of The Brothers Of The LORD
      And Praise The LORD Ye Lovers Of Zion
      For The LORD Comes
      And Jerusalem
      Will Have


      The Record

      • So well said - and there are so many more scriptures about God's people - His land - His plan - His protection and judgment to those who raise the hand against His people and the promised land!

    • You might want to read God's promises TO THE Jewish people in the Bible - what you have written about Zionists is incorrect - You might want to do a little more research concerning Palestine!
      Your words need to be turned around .... considering the land taken for its owner to be given to Arabs - who have lost of land taken from Jewish people - I am not Jewish myself - history is a fact! Arabs will always want more land - Palestinians already have a State - being Saudi Arabia - why would they want more? what's their agenda? we all know it as a matter of fact.
      Jewish people are the apple of God's eyes - that's His Land - His is love - peace - He will vindicate His people -

      “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns.”

      Who are we to be against the God of creation? against His Word and Plans? so much pride that will need to come down ....

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