Last Thursday, SanJose.com passed on a story about missing Google exec Wael Ghonim, believed to be held by the Egyptian government. A prominent Egyptian businessman now says that Ghonim could be released today, by 4:00 pm Egyptian time.
Naguib Sawiris is one of a number of Egyptian businessmen attempting to serve as channels of communication between the government and the Tahrir Square protesters. On Sunday, he announced on ON TV, a channel that he owns, that his focus has been on the release of Ghonim, who is emerging as a major symbol for the anti-government coalition.
It remains to be seen how Ghonim fared under administrative detention, most likely by the Mukhabarat, Egypt’s secret police force. Foreign journalists who were detained by the Egyptian authorities are gradually leaking uncomfortable stories of their own experiences in administrative detention, even if some have only been held for a few hours or days. Robert Tait, for example, of Radio Free Europe, described his three days in administrative detention by saying, “Whatever official statements you might hear about the situation of detained journalists, we were not treated well.” Ghonim, who was neither a journalist nor a foreigner, and who spent over two weeks in detention, may have fared much worse.