US citizen and Egyptian filmmaker held by state security, no charges

US citizen and Egyptian filmmaker held by state security, no charges

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Fri, 24/01/2014 - 22:00
Egyptian state security services have been holding US citizen Jeremy Hodge and Egyptian filmmaker Hossam Meneai, originally from El Arish, in a secret location without charges since Wednesday 22 January.
 
The two have not been allowed to meet with a lawyer nor has Hodge been allowed a visit by US embassy staff.
 
Around 7pm before their arrest, security forces came to their Dokki apartment and began asking questions about Meneai's film work and Hodge's Arabic.
 
Meneai, 36, is a freelance documentary filmmaker and Hodge, 26, is a freelance journalist and translator, who recently worked for Transparency International and also worked with Daily News Egypt.
 
Sources from the Dokki police station said that the detainees were monitored for days before 12 officers arrived at their apartment to take them into custody.
 
Hodge had his phone for a short time before it was confiscated. He was able to text a friend, “They’re asking Hossam about Sinai and his camera. They’re asking me how I know him, and where I learned my Arabic.”
 
Another friend of Hodge's, who heard of his arrest, called him, but received a man with a heavy accent, claiming to be Hodge. “Actually the guy talked to me in English and told me he is Jeremy, but i noticed he has an accent,” explained A. Shahin.
 
The man then insisted he was Hodge's friend and that Hodge had simply gone to the toilet and would be back shortly. They encouraged Shahin to leave a message, but he refused.
 
Lawyers said authorities have yet to write a report of the arrest and though they can no longer locate where the two are being held, they said the pair are no longer at the Dokki police station.
 
US embassy officials confirmed to Egypt Independent that they have not been able to visit Hodge and are awaiting approval from Egyptian authorities, which apparently has been difficult given the security situation and the public holiday.
 
In a phone call with Egypt Independent, Hodge's mother Lisa de Moraes in Los Angeles stressed particular concern for her son as he is asthmatic and left his inhaler and allergy medication at home when he was arrested.
 
Nizar Manek, the pair's British roommate returned to the apartment Friday evening to retrieve the medication only to find his key no longer worked and the door bore scratch marks around the lock, leading to believe the apartment had been raided.
 
The reason behind the arrest is unclear as neither of the two have any political affiliations, nor have they participated in any recent protests. “He's an opinionated translator but still just a translator,” said de Moraes about her son.
 
A US embassy caseworker has said that the embassy is working with Egyptian authorities to be able to meet with Hodge on Sunday.
 
Update: Sources had said a neighboring apartment of Spaniards had been searched, but it has been confirmed it was not.