The most famous Egyptian English-speaking blogger Sandmonkey, the one I made an interview for RFE/RL two days ago with was arrested today.
First the message was spread on Twitter, saying his father tried to call him, but someone else picked up the phone and said "You are next".
I've also tried to call, the same person picked up and first said: "Efendim", which is used for "Hello" in Turkish (apparently it is also used in Egypt). I asked if I can speak to Mahmood, the person replied: "Who are you?". I asked the same question again, the replied: "Who are you and where are you from?". I asked again if I can speak to Mahmood, the person replied: "Mahmood - police. You - next", and hung up.
I called again the second time and asked if they can tell me if Mahmood's all right and not injured. The person said "Mahmood okay". I asked how long he'll have to stay in the police, the person shouted: "Okay!! Bye bye bye bye", and hung up. Now Sandmonkey's phone is off.
A friend of him contacted me, saying her brother was with him. She is trying to call but someone picks up and doesn't speak.
At the moment, we are trying to spread the information among international community.
In our conversations during this week, he told me the State Security was using different kind of tricks to find him.
UPD: Sandmonkey's blog is down. The screen says This Account Has Been Suspended
UPD: Sandmonkey was reportedly arrested when he was delivering medical supplies to people on Tahrir Square.
UPD: Sandmonkey is reportely held in Abdeen Police Station in Cairo (?)
Under this link you can find the last blog post of Sandmonkey cached
UPD: Huffington Post mention
UPD: some tweets report Sandmonkey was first attacked by thugs. NOT CONFIRMED
UPD: Al Jazeera's Yourmedia just mentioned Sandmonkey's arrest live: "We receive reports that prominent blogger Sandmonkey has been arrested. We heard a lot of him, we know him, he was updating his twitter but not for 5 hours now".
UPD: Apparently Sandmonkey's phone is back on. Facebook user Jylan Khairat says: I just called his phone also and someone else answered pretending to be him, then he said in arabic "we'll get you all".
UPD: some tweets report Sandmonkey has been released. Some say he escaped. He and his friends have been beaten, his car destroyed, his phone confiscated, the medical supplies stolen. Trying to confirm now.
UPD: Twitter user RamyYaacoub reports: On the phone with @SandMonkey: "We were released, we did NOT run away . . . heading back to safety now" #SandMonkey
UPD: Twitter user RamyYaacoub reports: @SandMonkey: "We were just released after a 2 hour arrest, the beating came before the arrest" #SandMonkey
@RamyYaacoub: SandMonkey: "My car is completely destroyed, my cellphone was taken, we were saved by my friend's extra phone"#SandMonkey
UPD: @RamyYaacoub: @SandMonkey: "Massive Chaos ensued before we got arrested, my phone is gone, money, and car is destroyed" #SandMonkey
UPD: BBC also reported his arrest and release.
UPD: Sandmonkey on Facebook: "I am ok. My car destroyed, was beaten, but am fine. don't call my cell and delete me from ur bbm until i get it back."
On Twitter: RT @Sandmonkey: I am ok. I got out. I was ambushed & beaten by the police, my phone confiscated , my car ripped apar& supplies taken #jan25
Last update from my telephone conversation with Sandmonkey:
He and his friends were driving the car to Tahrir square to deliver medical supplies to people, when Mubarak's people approached them. They managed to escape and stopped by the police point to seek help. Instead, police officer took the keys of his car and ordered people to attack them. They were in the car, while around 100 people were destroying it.
He managed to escape the car from the other door, but was taken to the police station. There they confiscated his phone and money, and ripped his car apart. They were given no explanation, pressed no charges. After spending two hours in police micro-bus they were released, apparently, because "people made such a big fuss out of this arrest".
Sandmonkey is home and safe. He's bruised and slightly injured with pieces of glass. His friends also injured.
The story of their arrest in details, and Sandmonkey's interview to CNN here.