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April 6 founder detained, relatives unable to confirm whereabouts

The April 6 Youth Movement’s general coordinator, Amr Ali, was detained earlier on Tuesday in the city of Ashmoun, Monufiya. Head of the Ashmoun Investigative Bureau, officer Mohamed al-Sakhawy, said that Ali is under investigation, state-owned Al-Ahram reported. He gave no reasons, however, for his arrest.

The opposition movement stated on its official Facebook page that Ali, one of the group’s main founders, was arrested today from his home in Monufiya and is currently being held in National Security custody in Shibin al-Kom. The movement denounced the unlawful arrest, demanding his immediate release. “The revolution continues and will not calm down and will not be silenced,” the movement said at the end of their statement.

In a later post, the group stated that all police stations in Monufiya and National Security denied having Ali in custody.  “[This is] a crime of forced disappearance,” the post reads.

Hamada, Amr Ali’s brother, corroborated the statement and confirms that his brother may possibly be in Shibin al-Kom. He told Mada Masr, however, that the movement sent lawyers to investigate the arrest, but they were unable to determine Ali’s whereabouts.

Amr Ali was among a number of liberal and leftist activists who found that their assets were frozen in January, when they found their names in media reports. The assets of 112 individuals were identified to be frozen, with most of those associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, but also a few leftist figures.

The April 6 Youth Movement was banned in April 2014 by the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters for its involvement in “acts that tarnish Egypt’s image as well as espionage.”

Two of its founding members, Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, along with prominent activist Ahmed Douma, are also currently serving three-year sentences handed down to them last December for violating the protest law, which criminalizes unauthorized political gatherings of more than 10 people.

Established in 2008 to support a workers’ strike in Mahalla, April 6’s activities waned in the three years leading up to the revolution. It then played an active role after the uprising, and began facing accusations of destabilizing Egypt and tarnishing the country’s image.

The April 6 Youth Movement was one of only a few movements and groups that chose not to side with either of the two poles of the conflict in Egypt between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July.  

The group has chosen to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Freedom for the Brave campaign documented 163 cases of forced disappearances between April and June 2015. A number of these were April 6 members.