Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Don't Forget Aya Hegazy and her team in prison

When Aya Hegazy and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein started their project to help their community in their country Egypt in 2013, they had no idea about what was waiting for them a year later.
The George Mason University graduate, Egyptian-American Aya Hegazy along her Egyptian husband Hassanein came back to Egypt after the 25 January revolution with hopes that she could help her community using her knowledge.
In September 2013, she and Hassanein started to operate their NGO "Belady Foundation" to provide shelter for the street children in Downtown Cairo away.
The NGO aimed not only to provide a safe shelter but to rescue those kids by developing their skills and protecting them from sexual abuse.
Aya Hegazy and three boys she used to help
at Belady Foundation "Facebook page" 
The NGO was starting to work successfully.
It was still "under establishment" according to the law which means it was operating pending the approval of the ministry of social solidarity.
Then things went from bad to worse to worst in May 2014 when a couple of street children who used to come to Belady foundation for a shelter were arrested near a Pro-Morsi protest.
Later, the security forces stormed the NGO headquarter in Mohamed Mahmoud street, arresting Aya Hegazy and her husband as well 6 other volunteers working in the NGO allegedly after a family
Aya and Amira
last month as detainees 
reported it to the authority for kidnapping their son.

That was said at first, but later we found that Hegazy and her team were accused of recruiting street children to participate in the Pro-Morsi and 6 April Youth marches for money according to alleged National security investigations.

At the same time, Newspapers and websites like Youm7 even published shocking allegations that Aya and her husband used to abuse the children sexually.
Noticeably, they presented Hegazy as an American citizen only in those reports.

After 120 days of detention pending investigation,the Prosecution decided to refer Hegazy and her husband as well the rest of her team to the criminal court for running a foundation that recruited children in order to incite them against the Egyptian regime.
Needless to say, Aya and her team deny those horrible allegedly.
I read testimonies online about the Hegazy's organization on how it began to create a difference for the street children in Downtown Cairo and I feel sad.

Since being referred to the criminal court, the trial of "Belady foundation" team is adjourned every time.
Now they have been in detention for more than 500 days.
The last they were in court, the judge decided to adjourn the trial till 13 February 2016.
Now Aya Hegazy is sending a message from behind the bars telling the people not to forget her.
Do not leave us in jails and forget us. Do not make us lose hope in justice and humanity.
This is what Aya is telling the people.
Unfortunately, Aya is an independent social activist who is unknown to many people.
Despite she got an American passport yet she nor her family are pushing the States to release her like in the case of Mohamed Soltan.
The kids at her NGO
She is also not alone. Besides Aya Hegazy and her husband, there are other 6 detainees in the case and they are: Sherif Talaat, Amira Farg, Ibrahim Abou El-Magd, Karim Mahmoud, Mohamed El-Siyad and Zeinab Ramadan.
Aya with the boys and her volunteers 

We should not forget them.

Aya and the children she was helping
at Mohamed Mahmoud street 
Here is the foundation's YouTube Channel showing old interviews for Hegazy and Hassanein.

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