“They call him ‘Youssef the terrorist’,” says Om Youssef, “So when I visit him in the police station, I tell them I’m the mother of the terrorist, what else can I say?”
Youssef is 15 years old. He was arrested late last September on his way to class. Since then he has been held in a police station in his hometown of Fayoum, south of Cairo. The date for his trial has not yet been set.
Om Youssef did not know where her son was for four days after his arrest. While he was under investigation he says he was beaten and electrocuted.
Youssef is accused of causing an explosion at a kiosk in the city. He admitted the charges after those four days with the police.
Gen Abu Bakr Abdel Karim, an aide to the Interior Minister, denies that beating and electrocution take place in Egyptian police stations.
“If that were ever to happen,” he says, “police officers would be held accountable.”
Protests ‘only way’
Youssef’s lawyer, Yasmine Hosam El-Din, was finally able to see him on the fifth day after his arrest, and a photograph she took shows his face covered in scratches. She says there is no evidence against him.
Youssef’s father was killed when an anti-government sit-in in Cairo was violently dispersed in 2013. His mother believes that is why her son was arrested – because the police are afraid he will take revenge for his father’s death.