Raya and Sakina.. A century of falling into the hands of justice, amid renewed controversy about their motives for killing
Cairo – Actress Houria Farghali appeared after plastic surgery on her nose months ago to announce the resumption of work in the movie “Innocence of Raya and Sakina”, which tells a different biography that acquits two women who were executed a century ago, and actress Wafaa Amer participates in the work championship.
The new and different version of the biography of the two most famous criminals (executed on December 21, 1921) in the modern history of Egypt is based on an idea presented by a writer claiming that they were fighters against the British during the 1919 revolution, and that they were deliberately distorted in favor of the ruling authority, to serve as an example to all who resist the occupation at the time.
Contradictory version of the official version
When published, this novel was accepted by some who considered it logical, especially with the emergence of clues saying that there were motives other than theft that were behind the murder, and the first evidence that led the police at the time to accuse them was the discovery of a body in a house that Raya was renting.
Tweeters on Twitter circulated tweets that adopt the new narrative, which is completely opposite to the official narrative that has prevailed for an entire century.
Observers believe that the popularity of the new novel came as a celebration of what is different, especially as the popular mood tends to believe what refreshes his imagination to search for examples of popular heroes who resisted the occupation, as happened in the story of Adham al-Sharqawi, who was considered by the authority at the time as a thief killed for robbery.
While the popular mood celebrated and glorified al-Sharqawi as a fighter against the British, he committed acts of murder with national motives. Paradoxically, al-Sharqawi was killed in the same year as Raya and Sakina were executed, dozens of miles away from them, in the Buhaira governorate in the north, south of Alexandria, where the crimes of Raya and Sakina took place.
Muhammad Afifi, professor of modern and contemporary history at the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University, believes that “what is written about the heroic role of Raya and Sakina in the fight against the English on social media (Facebook) is complete nonsense,” stressing in press statements that they were “thugs who participated in the crimes attributed to them.” Historically and known to all of kidnapping, robbery and murder, and it is one of the most horrific incidents that have been revealed during the last century, and they are real facts.”
On Facebook, I found a full post about Raya and Sakina, with clear pictures, and I entered. I read all the details, and I wondered what I had entered.
— Marwa (@MarwaHa76002853) December 22, 2021
When they arrested Raya and his knife 1920 pic.twitter.com/wYmlDoI76f
— Mohamed Khair El Din (@saudpatek) December 21, 2021
Today, I watched Raya and Sakina in the series for the first time. I thought of what let Riya and Sakina do this. I wonder if the circumstances or the upbringing, or this is the nature of medicine for them when you execute people, you stop killing, no, of course
– When – (@ pvq5wkjeXQK2hX6) December 21, 2021
“The approved version that was circulated about Raya and Sakina deceiving the victims and luring them to the house to kill them and seize the gold, does not find anything to confirm it in the evidence available in the case file, as some of the seventeen victims when they disappeared did not wear any gold.” https://t.co/KanJmbMIZ3
— Mina Kamel (@minafkamel) December 21, 2021
Raya and Sakina, the grievances, the true story is not about the drama pic.twitter.com/2xMUJhitOM
— Layaali ❀❀❈┉┄ (@rywf97) December 13, 2021
I am sure now that the militants, Raya, Sakina and Si, according to God and Abdel-Aal, are innocent of the murder of Naswan Maser 🙆😂
And #mervat Talaat not Mervat
— ᖇᗩᕼᗴᏆ ᗩᎢᎢᗩ (@ 13_kota_122) December 13, 2021
In a house located on Macoris Street behind a police station in Alexandria, the two sisters, Raya and Sakina, and their male assistants were arrested.
Muhammad Hamdi (son of the policeman Ibrahim Hamdi) told – in press statements the day before yesterday, Wednesday – how his father disguised himself as a woman to arrest the gang members, and when they began to mute himself with a tissue, he took out his weapon and fired bullets, which was a signal to the police force to enter the house and arrest them.
The 83-year-old son added accurate details of the novel embodied by actor Anwar Wagdy about that incident, and his father was greatly honored for his role in uncovering the crime.
What Raya and Sakina knew was embodied in the artworks about them – the most famous of which were presented by the artist Suhair Al-Babli and the artist Shadia – from their commission of murders of about 17 women.
Although the gang’s lineup consists of 6 members (Raya, Sakina, Hassaballah, Abdel-Al, Orabi and Abdel Razek), they gained great fame, becoming the title of most of the artworks, amounting to about 12 artworks, between films, series, plays and radio works, to be the two most female characters that were carried out. Quote their stories in Arabic artwork.
The First World War had just ended, leaving tons of suffering for the Egyptians due to their indirect participation in it, as they were under the British occupation and Ottoman tutelage, and the two countries (Britain and Turkey) were enemies in that war.
Under the pressure of the harsh economic conditions, many women resorted to working in clandestine prostitution, to maintain a decent standard of living, and at the same time they fear scandal if they engage in legalized official prostitution that requires registration in government records and living in streets and neighborhoods designated for this activity.
The late writer Salah Issa, in his book “Men of Raya and Sakina”, adopts this angle that does not exonerate the circumstances of what the two women were pushed to, considering that it produced these criminal patterns.
The two sisters were not far from this climate, they were basically from a humble family from Aswan in the far south of Egypt, and they migrated to the Beheira governorate, to specialize in the activity of luring wealthy men and then stealing and killing them if necessary with the help of gang members, before the matter developed after they fled to Alexandria To the north, the number of the gang reaches 6 and tends to kill women to seize their gold.
Issa’s book was not the only one that blamed the circumstances that led them to the crime. The play “Raya and Sakina” – in which the late actresses Shadia and Suhair Al-Babli embodied the characters of Raya and Sakina – also adopted the existence of motives forcing them to fall into this well.
The number of victims whom the authorities accused the gang of kidnapping and killing reached 17 women between December 1919 and November 1920, by luring the two sisters to the victim and then giving her alcohol to paralyze her ability to resist.
And then the role of Abdel-Aal comes – as stated in the investigations – to mute the same victim with a wet tissue, while another person paralyzes her arms, then strips the victim of her jewelry and buries her place, and the two sisters restore their role in the crime by selling the stolen gold and the gang shares its proceeds.
On December 11, 1920, “Al-Yuzbashi” Ibrahim Hamdi, deputy superintendent of the Frankincense Department in Alexandria, received two notifications that the bodies of two women had been found, one of whom was found in an apartment she was renting.
This thread was considered by those who believed in the innocence of the two women to be weak evidence, and even fabricated, especially with linking it to the other evidence that led to Raya, a detective doubt about the intensity of the incense emitted from her room, so that a police force moved to the room and discovered the body of a woman in it.
The crimes were committed in 4 houses, all located near Al-Manshiya Square, and these houses have become tourist attractions for Egyptians and Arabs in the city now.
Among the doubts presented by critics of that novel is that it relied on the strongest witness in it, which is the little girl, Badia (Raya’s daughter), although she was young and her testimony could not be relied upon.
In light of the inconsistency and confusion, the Deputy Public Prosecutor in Alexandria, Kamel Bey Aziz, apologized for considering the case after 12 days of investigation in vain, and he did not find any conclusive evidence against Raya and Sakina, which reinforces the other explanation that exonerates the two women.
A new prosecutor was assigned to settle the case only 3 days after his arrival, and to submit the case to the court, which sentenced the six gang members to death by hanging.
The court faced the dilemma of executing a woman for the first time in the country’s history. However, it considered that the case of Raya and Sakina was almost devoid of any justification for the clemency that the judiciary had previously followed with women.
On Wednesday, December 21, 1921, Bria was brought wearing red execution clothes and on her head a white hat. She was weak and blushed, according to the description of the editor of Al-Ahram at that time. .
Sakineh followed her, a lot of movement and speech, with remarkable emotional stability and clear boldness, according to the editor’s description, while the prison warden was reading the text of the sentence to her, and she was mumbling phrases that commented on what she heard, before she was executed.
In addition to what the editor of Al-Ahram newspaper wrote about the moment of the execution, the press went out for two months with a daily angle devoted to the issue, and some pro-occupation newspapers adopted an opinion describing the Egyptians as social decadence, with evidence of the occurrence of such a crime among them, and therefore they are not qualified to rule themselves, while the anti-occupation newspapers said that these victim of harsh conditions.