Despite pains, Asmaa’s mother fights Egypt coup

Five years ago, Sanaa Abdel-Gawad, the wife of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagi, lost her daughter when Egyptian security forces violently dispersed an anti-coup camp in Cairo.

As Egyptian authorities launched a harsh crackdown on supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi, Abdel-Gawad sought refuge in Turkey.

Despite staying thousands of miles away from her country, Abdel-Gawad spares no effort to raise awareness about the aftermath of the military coup in Egypt.

"I have a main cause in life," she told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

"We have a right to live in freedom, a life without being ruled by the military," she said. "We were not created to be ruled by the military."

In mid-2013, Abdel-Gawad's daughter, Asmaa, was martyred when security forces violently cleared a protest camp staged in support of Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

The dispersal came six weeks after the military deposed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, in a coup after serving only one year in power.

Abdel-Gawad's husband, Mohamed al-Beltagi, was also arrested weeks after Morsi's ouster and put on trial of several charges. Her son Anas was also detained and jailed for alleged arms possession.

"My husband and son are currently in detention in military prisons," Abdel-Gawad said. "Though we have paid a lot, we never regret it."

"All my children resisted the military rule and paid a lot for this cause."


Abdel-Gawad said there are more than 40 women in detention in Egypt.

"Their families know nothing about them and whether they were alive or dead. Nobody knows anything," she said, adding that she dedicates her time to raise awareness about the issue.

Abdel-Gawad said she continues her anti-coup activities in Turkey as she used to do in Egypt.

"I participate in press and legal activities," she said. "I will continue to participate in these activities until we get rid of all coup attempts," she said.

Abdel-Gawad said she wanted to have a contribution during her stay in Turkey.

"When I came to Turkey I didn't want to be a burden on anyone. Instead, I wanted to have a contribution," she said.

"After the June 15 failed coup attempt [in Turkey], I felt compelled to have a contribution and I try to give advice that what happened in Egypt should not happen here," she said.

Abdel-Gawad said there are many young Egyptian girls now living in Turkey.

"They are trying to do something in return for the country that welcomed Egyptians," she said.

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