Two intellectually disabled persons, one an orphaned minor, were arrested at random by police in early March and released with signs of physical abuse.
Ahmad Abdel Khaleq was arrested on 4 March in Tahrir Square where he was selling tissues, according to Hany Helal, a lawyer for the Egyptian Coalition on Children’s Rights. His age is unknown due to his disability and because he has no known family, but Helal estimates that Abdel Khaleq is around 15 years old.
Police arrested Abdel Khaleq during a random sweep and held him for four days before his release on 8 March. He was visibly shaken and showed signs of having been beaten, Helal said.
“He couldn’t speak or explain anything to us,” Helal said. “He clearly had no idea what was going on.”
Abdel Khaleq has returned to Tahrir Square and resumed selling tissues because he has nowhere else to go, Helal said.
Ahmad Mahmoud Fathi, 22, also has an intellectual disability; he has difficulty speaking to strangers and is unable to cross the street by himself according to a statement by El-Nadeem Centre, an Egyptian NGO working with victims of violence and torture.
He was travelling with his mother on 3 March on Qasr El Nil bridge when a large group of security forces began arresting people on the bridge, according to his mother. Fathi was separated from his mother and taken into custody.
“They grabbed him like a dog,” his mother said.
His mother and father searched for him at a number of different police stations. Each station allegedly told them to file a report. They located Fathi at the Qasr El Nil police station the following evening, where they informed the police that their son was disabled and asked for his release. They were told to submit an appeal at Abdeen court.
They were allowed to visit their son later that week to bring him food and found that he had been severely beaten, his mother said.
“His face was swollen, he had two black eyes, and his clothes needed to be changed because they were soaked with blood,” his mother said.
Fathi was later transferred to a different police station and his parents were not informed of his whereabouts.
He was released on Wednesday morning and reunited with his family, according to Ramy Ghanem, a human rights lawyer.