Taher Mokhtar must be freed

January 16, 2016

The Egyptian military regime of Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi has arrested another radical activist for the "crime" of political dissent. Here, we print two reports of the arrest of Dr. Taher Mokhtar, as well as a solidarity statement, for which organizers are seeking signatures from unionists and activists, especially doctors and health care workers.

Dr. Taher Mokhtar arrested

MINISTRY OF Interior forces stormed the house of Dr. Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Freedoms and Rights Committee of the Doctors' Union, at dawn on January 14, arresting him along with his friend Ahmad Hassan and Hossam al-Din Hamady. The three were then transferred to Abdin police station for interrogation.

Dr. Ahmed Hussain, member of the Doctors' Union, said that Mokhtar and his friend were still in the custody of the National Security Agency in the Abdin police station, but that the police station was refusing to admit that Taher and his friend were detained there.

He added: "We have confirmed that the two of them are being held by National Security in the police station, and a complaint will be made to the Ministry of the Interior about their enforced disappearance. Taher has no secret opinions. His views are public and well-known. Gagging critics will not make the state more secure."

Published at the Revolutionary Socialists website; translated and published in English at the RS website.

Dr. Taher Mokhtar (second from right, in brown jacket) leads a demonstration during the January 2014 doctor's strike
Dr. Taher Mokhtar (second from right, in brown jacket) leads a demonstration during the January 2014 doctor's strike

Doctors' union activist Taher Mokhtar charged

A LEADING activist in the Egyptian Doctors' Union was snatched from his home in a dawn raid on January 14. Dr. Taher Mokhtar, a member of the union's Rights and Freedoms Committee was arrested along with Ahmed Hassan and Hossam al-Din al-Hamady and taken to Abdin police in Cairo for interrogation by National Security officers. Their detention was renewed for four days on January 15 in order to give prosecutors more time to interrogate them on charges of "possessing publications calling for the overthrow of the regime."

Taher is a well-known health activist and one of the organizers of the doctors' strikes of 2011-14. The revolution of 2011 sparked a wave of organizing in public hospitals across Egypt, with doctors leading the fight to win increased funding for public health care and better conditions for health workers through a series of major strikes. Taher was elected onto the Higher Strike Committee for the 2012 and 2014 national strikes, which saw thousands of doctors take partial action to demand the implementation of a national pay scale and a rise in the health budget.

What you can do

Send the Egyptian consulate a message of protest calling for the immediate release of Dr Taher Mohktar and his colleagues and for any charges against the to be dropped. Call 202-966-6342, fax 202-244-4319 or e-mail [email protected].

Doctors, health care workers, trade unionists and academics can sign a petition demanding their release.

Go to the Egypt Solidarity website for updates on the campaign in solidarity with Taher Mohktar.

He has also played a key role in campaigns to win justice for victims of police violence, including Khaled Said, the young man whose murder in an Alexandrian Internet cafe in 2010 shocked Egypt. Taher was badly beaten by the police in December 2013 who attacked a small, peaceful protest calling for justice for Khaled Said outside the court hearing against his killers. When Taher's friend and fellow activist, lawyer and Revolutionary Socialist Mahienour el-Masry, was handed a jail sentence for taking part in the protest, he campaigned tirelessly for her release. Mahienour was just one of the many political activists who Taher has fought to free, however. He has spoken out against the repression of opposition across the political spectrum, condemning the use of military trials, torture and forced disappearances by Sisi's military regime as it attempts to stifle all dissent.

Published at the Egyptian Solidarity website.

Doctors and unionists declare their solidarity

WE WERE alarmed to hear that our colleague, Dr. Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Rights and Freedoms Committee of the Egyptian Doctors Union, was arrested in a dawn raid on his home on January 14, 2016. Taher has played a key role in defending doctors' and patients' rights in Egypt, both as a leading activist with the Doctors' Union and as a tireless campaigner for Egypt's public health service. He is also an outspoken critic of the current military regime, who has taken a courageous public stand in solidarity with victims of state repression across the political spectrum.

We call for Taher's immediate release and for any charges or case in preparation against him and others arrested with him to be dropped.

We further call on the Egyptian government, military and security services to end the prosecution of opponents of the current regime for the peaceful exercise of their democratic rights, to release all those detained without a fair trial and to end the practice of forced disappearances.

Add your name to the statement here. Full list of signatories at the Egyptian Solidarity website.

Further Reading

From the archives