The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Anti-globalizatin group calls for release of detainees

The Anti-Globalization Egyptian Group (AGEG) has issued a statement calling for the release of socialist activist Wael Khalil, one of the group's founders, and the rest of the pro-democracy detainees.

Wael, a computer scientist and the father of a seven-year-old, ascended to prominence, following the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, as one of the best organizers with the Egyptian Popular Committee for the Solidarity with the Palestinian Initfada. The Committee was launched in 2000, as an initiative by several 1970s lefties, but was soon to turn into a mass organization, with university students flocking to its ranks, and with the help of tireless campaigners like Wael. The committee played a crucial role in reviving street politics in Egypt once again after the 1990s suffocating decade. A charismatic leader, Wael drew respect from the movement's youths and elders, from Islamists and liberals, and was popular with the press community in Cairo.

Wael went on to become one of the leading figures in the anti-war movement, and helped launching other initiatives like AGEG, took active role in founding 20th of March Movement for Change, and other umbrella groups, which was to help with creating the political climate in which Kefaya mushroomed later.

Wael is currently in Mahkoum Tora prison, after State Security police agents arrested him in a pro-democracy demo on 27 April.