Police clash with families of detained Nubian activists, several arrests made

A number of Nubian citizens were arrested on Tuesday when police forces clashed with families of Nubian activists detained on protest-related charges, lawyer Ahmed Rizk told Mada Masr.

A court in Aswan renewed the detention of 25 Nubian activists for 15 days on Tuesday, after they were arrested in relation to a singing march dubbed “The Day of Nubian Assembly” in September.

Some of the detainees families gathered in front of the courthouse to oppose the ruling. Security forces fired teargas into the crowd in an attempt to disperse them, and arrested several people, according to Rizk.

Nubian activist Basma Osman, whose brother is among the 25 detained activists, told Mada Masr that the court decision was issued later than anticipated, which made the families suspect it was going to be harsh.

“There were 25 detainees previously, and after today this is likely to have risen to 30 or more,” Osman speculated.

Police forces blocked the road leading to the courthouse, and a number of protesters escaped to nearby buildings to avoid arrest. Several family members of the detainees, including elderly relatives, were transferred to hospital due to the effects of heavy teargas, including Osman’s mother.

The initial arrests were made in September, when a number of Nubian activists gathered at a singing march to call for the right to return to their ancestral lands and to demand the application of Article 236 of the Constitution granting the right of return to Nubians. At the time, 24 protesters were arrested, including rights lawyer Mohamed Azmy, with one more Nubian activist later arrested as he attempted to visit the others in detention.

Aswan court had determined to release the detainees on bail, but a prosecution appeal against the decision was later accepted and their detention was renewed.

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