EGYPT: Missing Google executive Wael Ghonim named symbolic spokesman of opposition group


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A 30-year-old Egyptian Google executive who disappeared after participating in opposition protests last week was named the symbolic spokesman for the April 6 youth opposition group Friday, CBS News reported.

Members of the group told CBS they hope naming Wael Ghonim as their spokesman will result in the executive’s release.


Ghonim, Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, has been missing since last Thursday. He was last seen in central Cairo, and PC Magazine reported Friday that he is believed to be in the custody of the Egyptian government.

A Google spokesperson told that the company had no new information Friday concerning Ghonim’s whereabouts. Earlier this week, the company released a statement confirming his disappearance.

Despite warnings from friends and family, Ghonim tweeted that he was attending the Jan. 25 demonstration, organized in part by members of the April 6 movement. ‘Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25,’ Ghonim wrote in his last tweet.

A leader of the April 6 told CBS on Friday that if Egyptian officials ‘want to talk to us, talk to Ghonim.’

The irreverent Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, who has been attending Cairo protests and was scheduled to appear on CNN Friday, tweeted a reminder that Ghonim was still missing.

‘It’s an outrage that Wael @Ghonim is still missing,’ he wrote. ‘Our hearts are with you.’

Ghonim’s brother Hazem told that the Google exec is being ‘taught a lesson,’ and that the family has been receiving threatening late-night phone calls.

Meanwhile, Ghonim’s disappearance has led a pair of fellow tech workers in Lebanon and Canada to create a spreadsheet to help them locate him and other people who have gone missing during the protests.

The pair created a public spreadhseet in Google documents to collect, or crowd-source, information about every individual reported missing. The list includes when and where the person was last seen, the last time the person was seen online, a photo, and links to Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two creators moderate and update the document, asking people to direct-message them on Twitter.

The spreadsheet has already had some success. It lists six people as missing but 10 found, including one hospitalized with serious injuries.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske