(Live free or die standing up like a tree, throw a stone in the stagnant lake, to evoke rivers, ring the bells in the kingdom of silence, throw a stone in the stagnant lake to evoke rivers, sing your anthem, smash the wall of fear like pottery)
It is Dr. Yahya Kazzaz’s favorite song, written by the Syrian poet “Samih Shokeir”. Kazzaz, the prominent politician and Geology professor at Helwan University, was humming this song for self-reassurance as he was waiting for the Supreme State Security Prosecution’s decision on whether or not to renew his detention.
“I am strong, no one can break me, I am an old man and I have nothing but my honor, it is the legacy my children are going to inherit, my battle ends with martyrdom or prison, I accept all outcomes and I am not afraid”.
This was Kazzaz’s message which he delivered to his lawyer, Mohamed Abdul Aziz, director of “Al Hakkania Center”.
On his Facebook account, Abdul Aziz wrote about Kazzaz saying: I told him you will be released soon, he answered: “Or maybe not… I am not afraid…” we went on laughing while he was handcuffed.
However, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to renew Kazzaz’s imprisonment, on Wednesday, for 15 days, for the fourth time, along with his comrades: Dr. Raed Salama and ambassador Maassoum Marzouk, in case no. 1305 of 2018, which is known publicly as “The Feast Detainees”.
While professor Kazzaz, who is in his sixties, was attending a funeral of one of his relatives in the Red Sea governorate, during al Adha feast, he was arrested by security forces, found himself accused of “participating with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, receiving funds for supporting terrorism and participating in a criminal agreement aiming at committing a terrorist crime”
Kazzaz is turning his solitary, dark, narrow cell into a wide, sunny and comfortable one through his imagination.
On his Facebook account, Mohamed Abdul Aziz wrote: Today I asked Dr. Yahya Kazzaz about his day in the solitary cell, he said that he spends the day in imagining that he lives in New Castle in England where he was a visiting professor, he says that the cell has the same length of the room, and with imagination he skips the odor of the sponge matrix.
He continues: “I knew that we are all on probation, though I never kept silent, we are postponed cases, we are arrested according to the turn of each of us, we are candidates to assassinations and imprisonment”
Kazzaz, who is always biased for rights, went through battles to defend Egyptians rights in free universities by participating in the 9 March Movement, not to mention his struggle against Mubarak, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the Muslim Brotherhood, ending with his opposition to Sisi, despite he was attacked by both supporters of Sisi and fo the Muslim Brotherhood.
He never listened to a voice but that of his conscience, he never feared. He says: “Are we going to accept that we are living under threat? Or revolt even though if we are going to be imprisoned and killed?”.
Kazzaz in all stages was ready to pay for his stances: “It is a great honor to die or go to prison defending your dignity, your rights in your homeland and the worst thing is to live like a sheep waiting to be slaughtered, do not remain silent, we are all about to be imprisoned.”
His honesty is embodied in his fevered defense for rights, he never feared jail and when it happened he stood stiffly.
Abdul Aziz wrote about the deterioration of Kazzaz’s health, yet Kazzaz said: “I am the master of my desires, I quit tea, coffee and anise, I imagine from the window trees that do not exist, those trees which I used to watch from my window in New Castle… still capable of dreaming, I try to keep myself in shape.”
Despite his toughness, Kazzaz’s health is deteriorating, he tells his lawyer: “Tell Dr. Abdul Galil Mostafa that my blood pressure suddenly rises then suddenly drops, they injected me with solutions three times, tomorrow they will make blood analysis for me to know the percentage of keratin, I am trying to stay in shape.”
After being detained in a solitary, narrow and dark cell, his health kept deteriorating until now, though the prosecution approved his lawyer’s request to submit Kazzaz to a medical check, days after his arrest.
Mohamed Abdul Wahab, a member of Kazzaz’s defense body said: “My client did not take his cardiac medicine for three days.”
Amr Imam, Kazzaz’s lawyer, submitted a request to Supreme State Security Prosecution to render Kazzaz to the prison hospital and the prosecution approved this request, according to Imam’s statements.
Kazzaz is accused of parting with a terrorist group to achieve its aims, receiving funds to support terrorism and participating in a criminal agreement to commit a terrorist act and topple the regime. Such accusations do not conform to his political and academic record, as he never resorted to violence under any circumstances.
On the sidewalk along with George Ishak, dr. Mostafa Abdul Galil and activist Karima al Hefnawy, Kazzaz stayed in 2006 waving with the famous slogan “Enough – Kefaya”. The slogan which paved the way to the 25th of January revolution. He was also active in the 9th of March Movement, fighting for the universities’ independence, founded in 2003. Not to mention his strife against the Muslim Brotherhood through “Tamarud” movement, we wonder how could he part with the Brotherhood to achieve their aims.
As a result to his continuous opposition to President Abdul Fattah al Sisi, especially relinquishing sovereignty of the two Egyptian islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, Cairo Prosecution of Appeals investigated him in accordance to a complain submitted by lawyer Ashraf Said, accusing him of inciting to kill the President of the Republic.
The prosecution released Dr. Yahya Kazzaz on October 17th with a bail of 10 thousand L.E. In June, he was showered with complaints, some were submitted by lawyer Samir Sabri, accusing him of inciting against State Institutions on the background of his Facebook posts.
Because of his political stances, the battle between Kazzaz and the regime was transferred to the faculty of science in which he works as a professor of Geology. As the university summoned him to investigate him late July, yet, Kazzaz protested against such a decision saying: as usual, and without any respect to law, professor Dr. Ashraf Shams Al-din, president of Criminal Law department in the faculty of law, sends a letter to the dean of faculty of science to notify professor dr. Yahya Kazzaz, as if I am underage and the dean of the faculty is mine in loco parentis.
On his Facebook account, Kazzaz wrote: “Then he takes me by my hand, and according to this letter, professor Dr. Maher Helmi, dean of the faculty of science, sends me a letter ordering me to go to the disciplinary board to receive the highly revered letter with no accusation.. yes, the letter demands to investigate me for what was sent by the president of the university… he never writes the accusation.. what is this?
In July 19th, Kazzaz attended the investigation, but he was shocked when he read the complaint, it was submitted by his own dean, along with a huge complaining file with its accessories to prove the accusation of violating the university traditions, insulting the President of Republic and inciting against the state and its institutions, according to the statement published on Kazzaz’s Facebook account.
In his statement, Kazzaz said: “It is weird the huge amount of papers submitted by the dean taken from my facebook account to convict his colleague.. it should have taken a long time and exhausting surveillance to achieve such a mission. I wonder if this is the role of a dean of a scientific faculty to follow and monitor his colleagues rather than developing the faculty. ”
The university decided to transfer dr. Kazzaz to University Disciplinary Council under the accusation of insulting the President of the Republic through Facebook and WhatsApp accounts.
According to the complaint submitted by the dean of the faculty, Kazzas violated the university traditions, insulting the President of the Republic, breaching the two articles no. 105 and 110, Organizing Universities Law. Kazzaz said in press statements that he never breached anything and he is committed to law and traditions, announcing that the administration is not competent to such an investigation.
Though, Kazzaz sits on a chair before the president of the Supreme State Security Prosecution to end his supervision mission on a thesis which was hindered by his abrupt detention, refusing to let the young researcher down, who was about to get his PhD, according to Mohamed Abdul Aziz director of “al Hakkania” center.
The fourth chamber of North Cairo Criminal Court issued a decision freezing Kazzaz’s money a month after his detention, on September 23rd.
Kazzaz who spent his money, which is nothing but his salary from the university, on educating his children and supporting his cause, or paying some of them in public transportation, is now sieged by an asset freeze.
Biased toward the youth:
Dr. Kazzaz was always biased toward young people and their dreams, defending them and their rights. In the first day of the feast, he sent his greetings to those who spend their youth in prisons with no accusation except loyalty to their homeland.
“You are always free, you who dreamed of freedom and worked to achieve it, though you were rewarded by prison, it is Adha feast, and we sacrificed with you, no feast without you, it is tasteless, no good in a feast when young people are behind bars and people are frightened. Two days later he was arrested.
Even in his crisis he was responsible as journalist Ekram Youssef wrote on her Facebook account: there is a big difference between my best friend Maassoum Marzouk, my elder brother Yahya Kazzaz and my son Raed Salama who were standing with dignity in prison’s clothes and between the ousted president who was lying on the bed pretending to be sick. #freeyahyakazzaz the professor who enlightened the minds of youth with science and revolution, the chivalric upper Egyptian who refused to walk with the flocks, he never hesitated to retreat from supporting a man after he discovered that he is a dictator, he always returns to the righteousness. #Freeprisoners, who are accused of loving their country and dreaming the best for it.
I testify that you are a free man with a free stance, we differed when you had a hope in such a regime, but I knew you will eventually arrive at the right conclusion, you never say except what you believe, I always feel safe when I am with you in the same stance.