Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression

Ismail Eleskandarani

Name: Ismail Elsayed Mohamed Omar Taufik (Ismail Eleskandarani)
Occupation: Researcher and Journalist
Date of arrest: 29 November 2015
Legal status: Precautionary detention
Place of detention: Tora prison complex – Tora farm prison
Leal status: Illegal detention since 30 November 2017 since he completed 2 years in pretrial detention which is the maximum period allowed for pretrial detention without referral to trial.

Case number: 569/2015 High state security

Ismail Eleskandarani is an investigative journalist who specialized in defending issues of marginalized communities in Egypt, the most important of which is the Sinai Peninsula file. He was arrested at Hurghada Airport during his arrival from the German capital of Berlin on 29 November 2015. On the same day, he was interrogated by high state security prosecution and the interrogation extended over two days. The prosecution ordered him to be held for 15 days pending investigation after he was charged, in addition to the usual criminal charges, of belonging to a banned group established in violation of the law (Muslim Brotherhood) and propagating its ideas by broadcasting false news and statements about the situation in the Sinai.

His pretrial detention was renewed 10 times extending to 150 days, which is the maximum period allowed for pretrial detention according to the law of criminal procedures. On 18 April 2016, was  Eleskandarani’s  first session in front of the advisory room of the Cairo Criminal Court, which was held at the Institute of Police Sergeants, which ordered Isamil’s imprisonment for 45 days.

On 20 November 2016, the court decided to release Ismail al-Iskandarani. However, the Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision. On November 22, the appeal was accepted by Chamber 28 of Cairo criminal court presided by Judge Hassan Farid, who extended his detention for a further 45 days, during which he concluded his first year in prison without trial. As of this writing, Iskandarani is still in detention, renewed by a decision of the Chamber of Counsel. On November 29, 2017, Iskandarani completed his second year in prison without trial, which necessitates the end of his detention in the absence of referral of the case to the competent court in accordance to article 143 of the criminal procedures law (number 150 year 1950). Moreover, Iskandarani’s last hearing – dated 31st October 2017 – ordered a renewal/extension of his detention for 45 days. The later detention extension ended on the 16th of December. Since the later date, the detention of Isandarani stands as a detention without trial or order since it is not based on a judicial decision.

On 6 January 2018, Iskandarai’s legal defense team where surprised by the fact that Iskandarani’s case has been transferred to the military’s public prosecutor. Now, the case stands in his technical office awaiting to be distributed to one of the military public prosecution departments to handle. In the meanwhile, Iskandarani’s legal defense team relentlessly inquired about the date where Iskandarani’s hearing would be set. In response, the state security’s prosecution office informed them that the date was to be set in January 2018, while withholding the information pertaining the transfer of the case to the military prosecution office. In response, Human Rights Organizations issued a joint statement accusing the State Security Prosecution of intentionally misleading Isakandarani’s legal defense team, and stripping Iskandarani, himself, from his legal right to know the developments and conditions of his own legal case which is but a clear infringement of followed due process. In conclusion, the joint statement, requested the immediate release of Iskandariani, revoking the decision referring his case to the military prosecutor and insuring that Iskandariani would be trailed in-front of civilian’s courts and competent bodies.

Iskandarani was one of a few who were nominated for the Journalism Award for the year 2016 by Reporters Without Borders and TV5 MONDE. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have issued statements condemning the arrest of journalist Iskandarani as a violation of freedom of expression and freedom of journalism. In December 2015, 70 professors and researchers from different international universities signed a statement calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Iskandarani, and considered his detention a suppression of freedom of expression.

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