Around 300 people gathered around the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Defense today to protest the arrest of Mohamed al-Zawahiri, the brother of the second-highest ranked man in Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The crowd chanted ‘Allaho akbar’ (God is great).
A security official said on Monday that Mohamad al-Zawahiri was sentenced in absentia by a military court in a case known to the media as the “Returnees from Albania”.
The official said by revisiting the records of al-Zawahiri, the authorities found that he was charged in another case. Three days after releasing him, the police re-arrested al-Zawahiri, and he awaits trial.
“My father was released on Thursday, then was re-arrested by the police on Saturday at midnight,” says Abdel Rahman al-Zawahiri, the son of Mohamed.
According to the son, Mohamed al-Zawahiri spent the two days of freedom at home meeting friends, family and acquaintances who came to congratulate him on his release. “He did not leave the house and was planning on going back to work as soon as he could,” says Abdel Rahman.
Abdel Rahman says that seven police cars loaded with officers came to their house and took his father at gun point. “I asked for their IDs or an arrest order but they refused to show any,” says the young man.
Abdel Rahman says that he heard from his father, who was taken to the military prosecution on Monday, that he had been sentenced to death. “My father was kept in prison for 12 years with no legal charges, and now that Article 179 of the constitution is canceled, civilians should not be taken to military tribunals,” he concluded.
The name "Returnees from Albania" was given to the Islamist militants who were said to have been active in the Balkans for years, fighting side-by-side with Muslim residents of the region against attacks by various groups, organizations, and state governments.
Egyptian military authorities on Thursday released 59 detainees who had been convicted of belonging to Islamist groups, including Mohamed al-Zawahiri.
Al-Zawahiri, was a prominent member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was led by his brother, Ayman. He was sentenced in the UAE to life imprisonment on terrorism charges and extradited to Egypt in 1999.