Egypt’s ‘Shirt Detainee’: From Hope to Enforced Disappearance

the student Mahmoud Mohamed, known in the media as the “Shirt Detainee,” at a security checkpoint while he was on his way back to Cairo on Wednesday, August 30th,

On the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, January 25, 2014,  ’Mohamed Mahmoud was on his way home with a dream attached to his shirt that bore the phrase “A Nation Without Torture.” He was stopped by a police checkpoint in Al-Marj and detained due to his shirt. He suffered torture and mistreatment, with officers from the police department recording a confession video claiming he possessed explosives. In March 2016, Mokhtar Mounir, a lawyer for Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, announced his release when he was 19.

 Return to Prison and Disappearance

Egyptian lawyer Khaled Ali announced the arrest of the student  Mohamed Mahmoud known in the media as the “Shirt Detainee,” at a security checkpoint while he was on his way back to Cairo on Wednesday, August 30th, allegedly due to an outstanding judgment in case number 715 of 2014, administrative division Marj. This was the same case for which he had previously been imprisoned for more than two years.

Hussein was transferred to the October Gardens police station and then to the Al-Ayat police station in Cairo, and since then, his family and lawyers have lost contact with him.

After his disappearance in an undisclosed location, security forces raided his home in Al-Obour city, leading his family to declare his enforced disappearance.

Khaled Ali questioned, “If Mahmoud was arrested on the grounds of an alleged absent judgment that he was unaware of, his lawyers will submit a request to reopen his trial so they can present their defense. What is the justification for raiding and searching his home?”

Mahmoud’s family and lawyers expressed concerns about his physical and mental well-being, especially since he has health issues with his right leg, having undergone hip replacement surgery twice, and he urgently needs hernia surgery. Additionally, he requires treatment for panic attacks that have plagued him since his previous imprisonment. His family and lawyers demand disclosure of his whereabouts and access for visits.

“After his release, Mahmoud appeared in several interviews and on social media but later closed his social media accounts because he was exhausted from his time in prison,” said one of his friends who may have been with him in the same prison. “When he returned to social media, he decided to focus on posting pictures of himself working out at the gym and never spoke about politics.”

Mahmoud earned the nickname “Shirt Detainee” for wearing a shirt with the slogan “A Nation Without Torture” when he was first imprisoned.

The case dates back to January 25, 2014, when Al-Marj police forces arrested student Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed as he got off a microbus, suspecting him and taking him to Al-Marj police station. They filed a report with the number 715 for the year 2014, administratively Marj, and sent it to the public prosecutor’s office, which initiated investigations with him and ordered his detention for investigation since that date without referring him to trial. He was charged with “joining a group that violates the law, incitement and participation in protests, and possession of explosives.” He was released in March 2016.