April 3rd, 2010
10:04 PM ET

Egyptian publisher, ElBaradei supporter is detained

An Egyptian publisher who recently released a book calling for political change in the country was arrested at his Cairo home Saturday, and copies of the book, his computer and manuscripts were confiscated by police, friends and family said.

Ahmed Mahanna, director of publication and distribution for Dar Dawwin publishing, was detained "without explanation," a friend told CNN.
"Police did not mention any charges or reason for the arrest ... and his two lawyers were denied access to him," writer Mohamed Elgazaly said.

Mahanna published a book last month titled "ElBaradei and the Dream of a Green Revolution" by Kamal Gabrial. The book places the responsibility of political reform in the country on Mohammed ElBaradei, former chief of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, who returned to Egypt earlier this year.

A spokesman at Egypt's Interior Ministry told CNN that no information was available about Mahanna's detainment.

Furthermore, no official statement was released on state-run media Saturday to confirm Mahanna's arrest, but friends who gathered late Saturday night outside Cairo's al-Amiriya police station were told by security personnel that Mahanna was still detained though his whereabouts were unknown.

Early Sunday morning, Elgazaly said he was contacted by an unidentified security official assuring him that Mahanna would be released Sunday afternoon.

In a statement released Saturday, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced Egyptian security officers for the detention "in such ambiguous way without giving reasons or declaring charges is a serious violation of freedom of opinion and expression."

"It clearly shows the intention of the government to gag all dissenting voices as well as those supporting ElBaradei and the National Assembly of change," the ANHRI statement added.

Many Egyptians have called for ElBaradei to run for presidential elections in 2011. He has recently said he will run if he is guaranteed free and fair elections and the right to run as an independent candidate. Doing so would require a reform to the existing Egyptian constitution, which places restrictions on independents.

Last week, ElBaradei issued a video address via Facebook urging Egyptians to join his newly formed group, the National Association for Change.

- By CNN's Amir Ahmed. Journalist Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Egypt • World
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. nado

    a shame

    April 4, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    This happens so often in Egypt that people became apathetic. This also happens at many levels of society, all part of the terror instilled by the government and its personnel in the minds of all Egyptians. Anyone with power in Egypt is abusing to his/her own benefit.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. timothyn

    I find it odd that we support all the corrupt dictatorships in the middle-east - with Egypt & Jordan being one of our strongest allies, yet we are against the few actual democracies like Iran. And, we claim to support freedom. It is no wonder that people in that region are mistrustful of us.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Daniel

    Why am I not surprised? Knowing the right-wing Hosni Mubarak and his cronies,one really shouldn't be too surprised.Because Mubarak has been such a loyal stooge of West,the right-wing news media won't talk about this much and neither will the right-wing thugs in Washington,D.C. So much for Barack Obama's concern for human rights!

    April 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ashraf

    The US government has a moral resposibility to express concern and to start supporting ElBaradei as a democratic non-isalmist alternative.

    April 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    Hopefully, the days of the dictator Mubarak governing are numbered.
    With his dictatorship in place, he only creates hatred.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jj

    well daniel, it's probably going to be up to our right wing media to report on it. you probably wont find a peep about it on any middle eastern news services. it's probably 'insulting' or 'forbidden' to discuss it there.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ilonka Stille

    It would be great if El Baradei could be President, asuming he will have a different mindset, but.....Everybody seems to forget that the Muslim Brotherhood will fight to the death to get the position of power they have been waiting and planning for for so long.
    I hate dictatorships but unfortunately you have to be a dictator in the middle east in order to keep the muslim brotherhood at bay. When they have the upperhand it will also be a dictatorship, this time in the name of religion. Look what happened in Iraq, you get rid of a monster and then other monsters fight to get the power. In Afghanistan it's the same, you get rid of the Taliban and then it doesn't stop. In muslim countries you either have a fundamentalist dictator or a nationalistic dictator, both are sick but if you get a choice then don't choose the fundamentalist regime.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |