Abdelrahman Mohamed Zanaty stood for three hours at the entrance to Tora prison this morning. The 20-year-old was waiting to see his father, Mohamed, a doctor at a Cairo field hospital, who was arrested on 14 July after treating wounded supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
The army and police moved before dawn on 8 July to break up a peaceful sit-in of Morsi supporters outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo’s Nasr City. Security forces shot live ammunition at the crowd and protesters responded with stones, Molotov cocktails and guns. By the end of the morning, 51 protesters, two police officers and one soldier were dead. Dr Zanaty was accused of torturing one of the officers and participating in his death, and has since been denied a lawyer, his son said.
Abdelrahman also lost a brother in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square on 14 August.
As he was waiting to be let into Tora to see his father, army tanks and police riot vans were waiting for someone to come out: Hosni Mubarak. The last legal grounds for Mubarak’s detention were removed through two court rulings this week. With a curfew and state of emergency in force, Mubarak out of Tora and members of the Muslim Brotherhood in, many Egyptians are wondering what, if anything, has changed. ‘I hope people wake up after this,’ Abdelrahman told me. ‘This is part of the injustice of the coup, and we need another coup to get us back to the goals of the 25 January revolution.’
Nearby, Zainab Mohamed sat on a small wooden stool, baby girl in hand, plastic bags full of bread piled up on the sandy floor around her, as she waited to visit her son-in-law, Ahmed. He had been locked up after getting into a fight. He had been wounded during the 25 January uprising, shot in his shoulder. He was given 15,000 Egyptian pounds in compensation, his mother-in-law said, but not a government job as the family had been promised. ‘It’s only the downtrodden that get screwed,’ his sister Shaimaa said.
Not everyone’s unhappy about Mubarak’s release though (and he isn’t completely free: he’s under house arrest, with his assets frozen and forbidden from leaving the country). Sabah Sayed Ismail, 56, ululated outside the prison with tears in her eyes. ‘We used to feel safe under Mubarak. I don’t care about higher wages, I just want to feel secure. I was afraid to walk the streets at ten at night under Morsi. Long live al-Sisi!’