-Update (16 Jan, 1pm Cairo Timings): arrested activists in Naga Hammadi got a release order from a while, but its still unknown where/how will they be released from Qena or deported to Cairo.
-Update (16 Jan, 2:50pm Cairo Timings): the arrested girls are all released and with the lawyers right now, they will all move to Cairo shortly by a micro-bus/van.
-Update (16 Jan, 3:20pm Cairo Timings): the girls are now in a van and waiting for the boys to be released. They will all come back together to Cairo.
-Update (16 Jan, 4:00pm Cairo Timings): the first micro-bus moved, with 8 girls and 3 boys. and a police car behind them. The rest group are still going through regular steps in the directorate, and will start moving when they finish.
-Update (16 Jan, 6:00pm Cairo Timings): the whole group are on their way back to Cairo. They are divided onto 3 vans. Expected to arrive Cairo after mid-night
-Update (17 Jan, 2:30am Cairo Timings): the whole group arrived Cairo safely. They are well and back home.
In the morning of Friday January 15th, 2010, a group of Egyptian bloggers and political activists moved to Naga Hammadi (province of Qena, south Egypt), to pay their condolences to the families of the victims of the sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians that took place a week earlier during which Seven Christian Copts were shot dead on the eve of their Christmas, on January 7th, and to take a stance against religious sectarianism.
As they reached the train station at Naga Hammadi, tens of them got arrested by the police, their mobile phones and ID cards were taken from them. They were all taken to the Security Directorate, locked up in rooms and were told they will be transferred to the State Security in Cairo.
The group of arrested bloggers included:
Amira Al Tahawy
Esraa Abdel Fattah Ahmed.
Ismail Al Askandarani
Mostapha Al Naggar
Shahinaz Abdel Salam
Sherif Abdel Aziz
Number of lawyers moved to Naga Hammadi, from Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC) to make the authorities release the arrested group in Qena, and avoiding deportation to Cairo. According to HMLC, the authorities are insisting to deport the arrested group to Cairo, which if happened will make the group face a lot of difficulties on their way to Cairo, and increase the possibility of facing different forms of harassment.
It should be mentioned that an official visit by a number of the National Democratic Party people, the ruling party in Egypt, took place in the morning of the same day which made it harder for the lawyers and Egyptian human rights organizations to help the arrested group and provide legal support, due to the increased presence of security forces on the ground and the obstinacy of the authorities to release the arrested.
Till now, it’s not clear when the authorities will deport the arrested group to Cairo.