8 February 2017

Egypt: Sinai's Al-Arish Families to Begin Civil Disobedience in Days After Murder of Six Men

Cairo — Families in North Sinai's al-Arish have decided to enter into civil disobedience as of next Saturday, citing the interior ministry's "intransigence" in punishing those behind the murder of six young men, according to a member of a committee formed by those families.

The families decided to not pay electricity, water and telephone bills in an act of civil disobedience, which does not include protesting in the streets.

In a statement on Jan. 13, the interior ministry announced it killed ten Ansar Beit al-Maqdis "militants" in al-Arish who "implemented attacks against security forces" earlier the same month. The names of those killed were announced by the ministry and included the six aforementioned family members.

The families of the six young men say that their deceased relatives have been arrested and detained without charges three months before the time of their death.

One day after the interior ministry's statement, the families arranged a meeting among themselves to discuss an approach to the ministry's declaration of their relatives' murder and their designation as "terrorists", forming a 'popular committee' to follow up with the issue.

Defence lawyer Yahia Hussein said that the families have decided to enter into civil disobedience after the interior ministry "ignored" the demands that came out of the families' meeting that day.

The demands mainly include holding responsible those behind the murder of the six men as well as the immediate release of all those detained by the interior ministry without charges.

The interior ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Militancy inside Egypt has seen a significant rise since the military ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013, following mass protests against his rule.

Most of the insurgent activities which target security personnel and facilities occur in the restive Sinai peninsula, particularly in North Sinai.

According to separate statements by the armed forces, hundreds of suspected militants have been killed and hundreds were arrested in multiple security campaigns launched by the army over the past three years.

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