Google exec released from custody

Wael Ghonim set free after two weeks under arrest by Egyptian state security

Tags: CensorshipComplianceEgyptGoogle Incorporated
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Google exec released from custody Wael Ghomin, Google's head of marketing for the Middle East, has been released from custody.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  February 8, 2011

Google's head of marketing for the Middle East, Wael Ghonim, was released in Cairo on Monday after being captured by Egyptian state security and being kept in detention for two weeks.

Ghonim, who went missing on 27th January, said he was blindfolded throughout his two-week ordeal, according to Reuters.

Google said last week that Ghonim had not been seen since 27th January, the day before the huge protest in Tahrir Square. Ghomin said that he was picked up off a Cairo street by three plainclothes security men on 28th January. He said he was bundled into a car and taken for interrogation by state security personnel.

"I am not a symbol or a hero or anything like that, but what happened to me is a crime," Ghonim told Dream TV. "The heroes are the ones in the street. The heroes are the ones who were in the protests. The heroes are the ones who gave their lives. The heroes are the ones that were beaten. The heroes are the ones who were arrested and were exposed to danger."

Ghonim had reportedly been involved in founding an anti-torture Facebook group called "We are all Khaled Said", named after an activist who rights groups said was beaten to death by police in the port city of Alexandria.

The Facebook group has led to outcry about police torture and so far has gathered over 50,000 members. The group is credited with helping to inspire the protests demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30 year rule.

"This is the revolution of the youth of the Internet. This is the revolution of the youth of the internet, which then became the Revolution of the youth of Egypt," Ghonim told Dream TV.

Ghonim said that while he was detained, he was not allowed to contact his family, nor did he receive any news of what was going on in Egypt.

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