Philip Rizk Describes Ordeal to NY Times

By Ryan Rodrick Beiler 2-13-2009

We continue to give thanks to God for the release of God's Politics contributor Philip Rizk earlier this week. A New York Times article published shortly after his release gives some details about his detention by Egypt's secret police:

For more than four straight days, Philip Rizk said, he was blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated around the clock by Egyptian state security agents who abducted him on Friday after he took part in a march in support of Gaza.

Early Wednesday morning, with neither warning nor explanation, he was driven home and dropped off, without having been charged.

"They said I was a liar, that I was not telling them the truth, threatening me that I would be punished in certain ways unless I gave them the whole story," Mr. Rizk said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.


He said he was repeatedly interrogated. The police, aggressive and threatening, were searching for something to charge him with, he said.

They accused him alternately of being a spy for Israel and of running arms for Hamas, two incompatible roles. Mr. Rizk, who turns 27 on Thursday, said he was never beaten or physically abused.

"I was held for four days, but the people of Gaza continue to be held in a form of prison, and there are others in Egypt who are also being held," he said. "I want to move the attention to others who are still in this situation."

The Times article describes one person in particular who continues to be held by Egyptian authorities without the benefit of Philip's international network of support:

Mr. Gad, 23, a high school dropout and blogger, was arrested Friday, too, when four police officers grabbed him as he stepped outside the door of his family's apartment.

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

Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web editor for Sojourners.

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