Four days after his disappearance, Egyptian authorities have announced their detention of Karim al-Shaer.
On Tuesday evening, 8 February, the Egyptian Interior Ministry published a statement on its official Facebook page, claiming that “al-Shaer was arrested on Tuesday 8 February”.
However, his family and friends announced his detention on the previous Saturday, 4 February. He was arrested near Tahrir Square, Cairo, and taken to the nearby Maadi police station, where his belongings were given to his family.
In its statement, the Ministry claimed “there is no truth to the claims circulated on social media concerning the unlawful detention of a person, named Karim Al-Shaer, in Cairo’s Maadi police station”.
The Ministry claimed that al-Shaer was wanted in connection with several criminal cases, though did not provide any evidence to that effect.
On their visits to the station, the police department’s management denied al-Shaer was being held there to his family members and lawyer.
Al-Shaer’s family is deeply concerned that Egyptian security services will fabricate a criminal case against him, particularly after authorities initially denied his disappearance.
Karim al-Shaer is not the only political activist to have been detained over the last period.
Haitham al-Banna, a member of the Constitution Party, was taken from his home on Sunday 30 January, after he published an essay on the 25 January Revolution on the day of its 11th anniversary. Since then, al-Banna’s whereabouts have remained unknown.