UPDATE: Egyptian Human Rights Defenders released


Military police arrested at least 37 human rights defenders and activists since January 31 and held them from periods ranging from 12 to 48 hours. On the afternoon of February 3, military police, accompanied by a uniformed policeman and plainclothes security officers, raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC), a human rights organization, and arrested 28 Egyptian and international human rights researchers, lawyers, and journalists. The HMLC also houses the FDP, which provides legal support to arrested protesters and document the violations against them. The coalition set up emergency telephone numbers ahead of the planned January 25 demonstration so that they could dispatch lawyers when people called in to report that they had been arrested. The HMLC premises were also used for meetings by the April 6 Youth Movement. Update to Egypt: Amnesty staff released but Egyptian activists still detained

Those arrested included Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams, HMLC founder and prominent lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam, two researchers from Amnesty International, and two journalists from a French agency. The military detained and interrogated the group at Camp 75, a military base, before releasing the foreigners around midnight on February 4 and the Egyptians on the morning of February 5.  The group was detained incommunicado and did not have access to lawyers.

Later on February 3, military police accompanied by a State Security Investigations officer arrested nine young activists who were on their way back from a meeting with opposition figure Mohamed El Baradei, on Faisal Street, in Giza. The nine included Amr Salah, a researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Ahmad Douma, and Shadi Ghazali Harb, all of whom have been previously arrested for peaceful activism. One of the nine told Human Rights Watch that the officers walked the group through the crowded street, held a gun to the head of one of the group, and told the crowd that they were "spies," prompting some in the crowd start hitting them and shouting at them. He said that the officers then held the group in a military van for more than 10 hours and then drove them to military intelligence headquarters for interrogation before releasing them at around 7 pm on February 4.

Source: HRW's report, Military's Arbitrary Arrests, Beatings Are Trademark of Interior Ministry Repression

FEBRUARY 9, 2011