The vicious cycle
This excellent METimes article talked about something that I have always wanted to discuss with people: the egyptian political detainees and how once arrested, even if they are 100% beyond reasonable doubt innocent, can never be released. Why? Well... A police officer summed up the situation very clearly to political detainee Abdel Moneim Mohammed, who has spent 13 years in the custody of the Egyptian interior ministry: "We can't release you [regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty]. After spending years in prison, you hate us - and setting you free will be a great risk." How bad is it? Egypt has more than 15,000 political detainees, according to the Human Rights Center for the Assistance of Prisoners (HRCAP). Release verdicts are issued by courts but are rejected by the interior minister. Authorized by the Emergency Law - in place since 1981 - the minister issues new detention warrants, prolonging the prisoners' time behind bars and their families' time in agony. [...] The Egyptian interior ministry adopts certain criteria for releasing political detainees, as stated in the 2004/5 annual report of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR): "[The Ministry releases] prisoners whose critical health conditions make it difficult for the prison's administration, or the hospitals affiliated with it, to handle the prisoners' health, in which case the prisoner is released only on the condition that the ministry ensures he rejects extremist beliefs and ideas, which are harmful to the country's security." Seif Al Islam of the HLMC comments on this criterion, "It's clear that the ministry's goal is to keep people in political detention until they start dying ... This policy has been adopted since 1981." Consequences? One detainee's wife speaks of her four-year-old son who wants to grow up and become a policeman, then create a "big prison to keep all those who arrested [his] dad". Another boy, the son of detainee Yahya Abdullah, vows to his mother, "I will buy a gun and kill the policeman who is keeping my dad in custody." A new generation of political detainees' children: Watch them grow. God, how much I fear the future!