Government agents on Wednesday arrested a man named Magdi Ismail Safayen, 25, after a daring dawn raid on his apartment in the capital, for no particular reason besides the fact that they can.
Police sources told AlHudood the operation had been planned over several days, following extensive surveillance of Safayen’s movements, and the raid was scheduled at a time during which his family was guaranteed to be at home and that would cause maximum disruption for the neighborhood, to remind citizens of the state’s power and existence.
Lt Gen Muhannad Fatahel said in a statement that Safayen would undergo a fair trial.
“Assuming he survives interrogation and subsequent procedures, he will be referred to our independent judiciary, which may decide to release him or hand down a life sentence, because it can,” he said.
Fatahel declined to provide details on Safayen’s current conditions.
“We prefer not to disclose his exact location, and whether he is alive or dead, as we have the right to keep these details secret,” he added. “We will also issue an order in due course to ban media organisations from further covering the case, not because it will hinder the investigation, but because we can do that too.”
Nu’man al-Wazz, an expert on government mood swings, said the recent spate of arbitrary arrests were necessary to maintain morale in the various security agencies.
“The heightened sense of security and stability after the first wave of arrests has created a vacuum for all those agents, and reduced the time they spend honing their skills every day,” he said. “So a group of citizens was randomly selected to play the role of political activists to preserve their fitness levels and abilities.”