Reuters - Wednesday, April 16
CAIRO - Egypt's vice squad raided the offices of a publisher and blogger, already detained for backing a general strike last week, and took away copies of one of his publications, his fiancee said on Tuesday.
Their main target was the graphic novel Metro by author Magdy al-Shafei, which came out in January and has already been widely sold, fiancee Naira El Sheikh told Reuters.
The publisher is Mohamed el Sharkawi, who has been in custody since April 6, the day activists called for a general strike to coincide with a textile strike in the Nile Delta.
"They made the accountant, who was the only person in the office, sign an undertaking to ensure that any copies returned are sent to the vice police," she added.
Sheikh said she interpreted the raid as an act of revenge by the police, who were much criticized in 2006 and 2007 for their treatment of Sharkawi during an earlier spell in custody. Sharkawi says police tortured and raped him.
"They are settling their score with him. It's payback time for him because of the media frenzy last year," she said.
Police also took away contracts and downloaded the phone number memory from the land line, she added.
The vice squad usually deals with sexual offences but Sheikh said the novel had no more sex than other recent publications which have not had trouble with the authorities.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said they had no information about the raid.