The Egyptian human rights organizations signatory to this statement demand a prompt release of Yehia Helwa, a political activist and member of the Bread and Freedom Party (under establishment), who spent two years in remand detention without being released or responding to repeated requests to provide him with the appropriate health care, allow him to undertake the necessary medical tests and x-rays or even the entry of medications provided by his family.
Yehia suffers from a congenital heart defect that needs follow-up and treatment, and his detention for so long caused his condition to deteriorate sharply. The medical examination revealed that he was diagnosed with regurgitation of the mitral valve and a 60% weakness in the heart muscle. After he was placed in Torah prison, the prison doctor, after examining him, recommended that he be transferred to hospital in order to do the necessary diagnostics. This did not happen since his imprisonment. Despite the response of the National Council for Human Rights and its visit to him, as well as the recommendation of a committee from the Prisons Authority to do the necessary x-rays, the prison administration insists on ignoring requests and recommendations and even preventing the entry of medications since the last family visit on July 10, 2022. Yehia’s suffering was exacerbated by his presence in a cell that lacks the minimum health requirements for human survival. He is held in an overcrowded cell denied a fan in summer or blankets in winter.
Security forces had arrested Yehia Helwa from his home in Suez Governorate on September 17, 2020, and he was forcibly disappeared for 11 days, during which he was beaten and tortured by electric shocks, according to his statements to the prosecution later. Then he appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution on September 28 and was imprisoned in connection with Case No. 880 of 2020. On April 4, 2021, the Criminal Court issued a decision to release him and he was transferred to the police station in preparation for his release, but he was subjected to enforced disappearance again for a month until he appeared before the Supreme State Security again on May 6, when he was investigated in connection with a new case No. 65 of 2021, with the same political accusations of joining a banned group and spreading false news.
The undersigned organizations reiterate their concern over the deterioration of Yehia Helwa’s condition, and demand his immediate release and the provision of the urgent health care required for him until then.
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
El Nadeem Center
Committee for Justice
Egyptian Front for Human Rights