TODAY IN HISTORY, AUGUST 25th


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World

In his small flat in the Mesekeen Uthman neighborhood on the desert outskirts of Cairo, Hamid pulls prayer beads tensely through his dry fingers, his legs folded beneath him on the living room floor. A flickering television illuminates the walls and a rotating fan beats the hot air. “It was night,” he says, recounting his recent arrest. “Two friends and I were in the apartment. There was a pounding on the door.” It was an investigator, Hamid recalls. “Evening, boys,” the officer said. “Your passports.”

Two months before, when Hamid’s residency had expired, Mohamed Morsi was still in the presidency, and Hamid wasn’t worried about being deported from Egypt, where he’d found a sanctuary from the war in his native Syria. But in the xenophobic atmosphere following Morsi’s ouster, overstaying one’s papers has taken on a new danger. “Come with me,” the investigator said, and he took Hamid into the night.

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