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Google executive missing amidst protests

by Jorge Hernandez on February 1, 2011

Wael Ghonim, a Google executive in charge of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, has gone missing in Egpyt as the government has not relented on its internet blackout amidst continued unrest. Ghonim's brother said he was last heard from on Friday, and that his family is in contact with Google, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ghonim's Facebook and LinkedIn pages suggest that he was an admirer of Mohamed ElBaradei, who is a vocal opponent of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and recently returned to the country to participate in the widespread protests. According to his LinkedIn profile, he began working for Google in 2010 after graduating from American University in Cairo.

Early last week, as the protests were just beginning, Ghonim indicated on his Twitter page that he was going to participate, though friends and family members urged him not to.

On January 25 he tweeted that he was "Heading to Tahrir square now. Sleeping on the streets of Cairo, trying to feel the pain of millions of my fellow Egyptians." His last activity on the website was on Thursday, January 27, when he responded to a question from a follower.

Although he has gone silent for the last several days, Google has yet to comment as to whether or not he is officially listed as missing. However, friends of Ghonim contacted Al Jazeera, and the news source posted on its blog that his wife is reaching out to anybody who may have information on his whereabouts.

The protests continued for a seventh straight day even after Mubarak replaced much of his cabinet. On Tuesday, an expected one million protesters began a march to Cairo in an effort to unseat Mubarak from the presidency that he's held for 30 years.  

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