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Urgent: An Amnesty International staff member and others were detained by police in Egypt this morning

Important Update 2/5/2011: Amnesty staffers and other human rights activists freed. Amnesty demands investigation as to why detained. Story at Amnesty International: here.

KW writes: Oh, my goodness. This should really hit home for a lot of activists who know, and benefit from, the good work of Amnesty International.

Thinking about the Egyptian government’s move, it really seems just bizarre — desperate, stupid, ill-advised, etc. — for the Eygptian government and Mubarak to detain an Amnesty person. What is the Egyptian government thinking? Amnesty is the gold standard of responsible, human rights work. Amnesty has the networks (and, please, be the network) to lobby back. This situation is so hard to believe. And, yet, I received the message below in my in-box from Amnesty, a message I am usually receiving from Amnesty about some poor soul who does not work for them…

Thursday, Feb 3, 2011 at 3:10pm:

Urgent: An Amnesty International staff member and others were detained by police in Cairo, Egypt this morning.

Call on Egyptian authorities to immediately release Amnesty International staff member and other human rights monitors.

Dear [Friend of Amnesty International],

Our hearts nearly stopped this morning when we heard the news – one of our own, a member of the Amnesty International staff, was detained by police in Cairo after the Hisham Mubarak Law Center was taken over by military police.

Our colleague was taken along with at least three others, including a delegate from Human Rights Watch. We do not know their current whereabouts.

The ongoing crackdown on civil society in the wake of the protests in Egypt is appalling. It is essential that human rights monitors be allowed the freedom to do their crucial work at this time of crisis. Egypt must release these individuals immediately.

Please, we need you to speak up with the voice of the international human rights movement:

Tell Egyptian officials to release Amnesty International’s staff member and all human rights monitors.
Detained in Egypt

We are appealing directly to the Egyptian authorities because this madness has got to stop.

Please help us bring our human rights colleagues to safety. Please help ensure that human rights are respected in Egypt.

Thank You,
Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

P.S. The calls you’ve been making to the Egyptian Embassy and the emails to the US government are making a difference. Please keep up the pressure!

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