The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged disinformation
Prison break

One of the many annoying things about following Egyptian politics these days is the sheer amount of disinformation and ridiculous stories out there. The compounded result of the state of the Egyptian media these days is to create a daze in which nothing appears true, and everything appears suspicious. It's psychological warfare based on information overdose, designed to soften minds and heighten the general sense of hysteria. Nour The Intern, whom I frequently reproach for spending way too much time reading sensational stories, has dug up this implausible gem below from al-Watan newspaper — to be read in the context of allegations that Hamas broke Mohammed Morsi and other senior MBs out of jail during the uprising against Mubarak. This is her summary.

Testimony of truck driver, Ayoub Othman, who supposedly saw Morsi and friends escape from prison. 

He was transporting 50 tonnes of sugar on Jan 28, when he got a flat tire and had to spend the night by the truck waiting for his aid, who left to fix the tire, to come back. He was right by the Natrun Prison. On Jan 29, around 3:30 am, he saw four microbuses with their number plates partly covered with duct tape. Two of them stopped behind him and two before him. No one came out of them and he started to worry. A while later, 27 other microbuses without number plates showed up.

Four armed men came out of one the microbuses, they spoke with a Palestinian accent. They asked him to get out of the way, he said he couldn't. Suddenly four microbuses took off and the armed men told him to follow them back to a microbus to get a phone. That's when he saw [Wasat Party politician/former MB] Essam Sultan come out of one the microbuses, holding a black phone with an aerial coming out of it and it flashed a green light. He was followed by [pro-MB preacher] Safwat Hegazy and [current head of Shura Council and MB] Ahmed Fahmy. Inside the car, he saw the Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie. 

Then he heard gunshots, which lasted for 20 minutes. Then he saw [top MB figures] Morsi, Katatni, el-Erian and others run out of prison. When Morsi got into the microbus, he kissed Badie on the forehead, praised the "Brothers 95" (MB's alleged military branch) and changed into a suit like the others. 

The man then sent telegraphs to the then-Field Marshal, Tantawi, telling him that he has information about the MB prison escape, asking him to reply if he loved Egypt, but he was ignored. Finally, a month and a half later he received a letter telling him to go to the Citizen Services and Complaints Office in Cairo, during working hours, to meet the head of the office to see about his request. He went there and demanded to meet Tantawi. A colonel told him to write whatever he has to say to Tantawi in a letter and send it to him. He got angry, yelled at the colonel and left.

A year later, during the presidential elections, Othman went to the General Intelligence where he met General Hisham el-Eissawy, who wrote down his testimony. Three days later, he was asked to come back and to use a different door than the one he used the first time he went there. Once there, his phone and ID were taken. A new officer reviewed his statement him in a room. This was recorded. Near the end, the officer asked him if he has the papers to prove that he was transporting 50 tonnes of sugar at the time. Othman said he will have to go look for it. The officer said he will call him in two hours.

Two hours later the officer called to ask if Othman had the papers ready. "Not yet," he said and then all lines of communication were lost and Morsi became president.