Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim alleged on Thursday that his brother had been detained by the regime in retaliation for his own rejection of a state job offer relayed by Cairo’s embassy in Washington.
Ghonim, a Google executive who played an influential role in Egypt’s 2011 revolution, said in a series of tweets on Thursday night that his brother Hazem had been “kidnapped” by the country’s security forces.
Describing Hazam as an “apolitical” person who had done little to draw the ire of the state, Ghonim said the detention had come after he had rejected a plea bargain from the feared Egyptian security services.
The offer, allegedly relayed by Egypt’s embassy in Washington DC, had been for Ghonim to either work for the security services or “go quiet”.
That offer came after the activist returned to the spotlight with a series of frantic online broadcasts in recent weeks.
The controversial videos, in which Ghonim urged Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to seek forgiveness from the widow of ousted President Mohammad Morsi, prompted worries over the activist’s mental health.
“I received a threat yesterday from the Embassy in Washington and when I rejected their offer,” he said in a tweet urging others to #SaveHazem. “I am not going to back out. Please help me deal with those thugs.”
In seperate tweets, the US-based dissident said the security services had confiscated his family’s passports and mobile phones. He also said they had “threatened” his father and “destroyed” his mother’s belongings.
“F*ck you Sisi,” he wrote in an angry tweet accusing the state of harassing his parents. “F*ck you a thousand times, you bastard.”
In another video released earlier this month, Ghonim accused former military-linked contractor Mohammad Ali of exposing alleged corruption for money.
Videos released by Ali from outside of Egypt went viral earlier this month.
In the videos, the former regime loyalist accused Sisi of appropriating public funds to building lavish homes for himself.
The YouTube broadcasts have caused a new wave of dissent in Egypt, with the hashtag #ThatsEnoughSisi garnering more than a million tweets in its first 24 hours.
Calls for large-scale protests on Friday have reportedly prompted worry among regime figures.