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Philip Rizk freed in Egypt

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Updated (3:50 p.m., Wed., Feb. 11): The NYT has the first interview with Rizk. CT will be covering his press conference Thursday.

Rizk says he was blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated for four days before being released without explanation. The money quote:

"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."

AP suggests Rizk's detainment was part of a broader crackdown on dissent by Egypt. Question is whether the other bloggers have the international connections that Rizk does....

Updated (8:50 a.m. Wed., Feb. 11): This post adds analysis by CT source in Cairo and a roundup of press coverage of Rizk's release.

Philip Rizk, a friend of CT held without charge by Egypt's State Security forces since Friday evening, has been released to his family – just in time for his 27th birthday Thursday.

From Facebook:

LATEST UPDATE FROM THE RIZK FAMILY

Wednesday February 11th, 4:00am

Philip is out, he is safe and home with his family.

He requests that all upcoming planned protests and marches still take place to end siege on Gaza.

More details to come soon.

Please do not call the family members at this time.

–––-

His release comes in the wake of extensive media coverage, high-level diplomacy efforts, and protests in front of Egyptian embassies worldwide, many organized by former classmates at Wheaton College. For Chicago, click here and here. For Wheaton College's response, click here.

Some analysis on Rizk's arrest and release, from CT's source in Cairo, can be found here. The author suggests

Rizk was arrested in part because his protest march mirrored one proposed by a medical syndicate associated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood and explicitly denied permission by Egyptian authorities. The money quotes:

"It has all the appearance, one Western diplomat said, that Egyptian authorities have totally miscalculated the effects of arresting a young man campaigning for humanitarian support to Gaza."

"Philip organized his march with a group of only 14 young people. His arrest has garnered attention for his march that he would never have achieved if he had not been arrested. His arrest has also resulted in discussions about humanitarian aid to Gaza and human rights in Egypt that would not have happened without his arrest. Egyptian security authorities have thus done his case a great favor that in all likelihood was completely unintended."

Click here for accounts of Rizk's release from AP, Middle East Times, BBC, and Reuters.

In addition to CT's coverage here, this NYT article covers the recent saga well.

Photo credit: Emily Johnston Anderson

January/February
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