AFTE’s Weekly Legal Bulletin (12:19 May 2024)| Omar Al-Hout and Musab Arafat Detained in New Cases; 4 Others, Including Muhammad Al-Qassas Face Renewed Detention; and AFTE Reports Non-Implementation of Court’s Order to Release “T-Shirt Detainee”

Date : Monday, 20 May, 2024
Facebook
Twitter

12 May 2024 sessions

Zagazig Prosecution

Zagazig Prosecution decided to detain the student Omar Mahmoud Al-Hout for 15 days, pending investigations in case No. 7682 of 2024 (Abu Hammad misdemeanor) on charges of joining a terrorist group. 

 

On 27 February، Zagazig Criminal Court refused the prosecution appeal on its decision to release Omar Mahmoud Al-Hout pending investigations in Case No. 24978 of 2021 (Abo Hamad Misdemeanors) and decided to release him. But he was not released till he was detained because of the new case. 

 

Al-Hout was arrested in 2014, when he was 24 years old, from the Zagazig University campus. After ten years in prison and being rotated in different cases with the same accusations, he is now 34 years old; his detention is still under renewal instead of releasing him.

Al-Hout faces charges of joining a terrorist group and possessing publications that promote its ideas.

 

Criminal Court

  • The Criminal Court (Third Circuit Terrorism) decided to renew the detention of the Vice-President of the Strong Egypt Political Party, Mohamed Al-Qassas, for 45 days pending his third lawsuit No. 786 of 2020 (Supreme State Security).

Al-Qassas was arrested in February 2017, coinciding with an extensive arrest campaign launched by the security forces against members and leaders of the Strong Egypt Political Party. He was involved as a defendant in his first lawsuit, No. 977 of 2017, known in the media as the “Mekamleen 2 lawsuit.” after nearly 22 months in pretrial detention, the prosecution ordered his release. However, a few days later, the prosecution interrogated and listed him in a second lawsuit, No. 1781 of 2019, over the same accusations he previously faced.

On August 5, 2020, the Criminal Court ordered Al-Qassas to be released with precautionary measures. Still, the decision was not implemented, and for the third time, Al-Qassas was included in lawsuit No. 786 of 2020, and one more time, over the same accusations. In 2021, the Supreme State Security Prosecution listed Al-Qassas in his fourth lawsuit, No. 440 of 2018. It later referred this lawsuit to the Emergency State Security Court, which sentenced Al-Qassas to 10 years in heavy prison and police observation for five years after the sentence ended.

Al-Qassas is detained over accusations of being a part of a terrorist group with knowledge of this group’s aims and spreading and publishing false news and information.

 

  • Cairo Criminal Court reserved the lawsuit of journalist Hassan Al-Qabany, in which he’s accused due to similarity of names, on July 27 due to the absence of the prosecution witness, the lawsuit known as “Rabaa Operations Room” No. 2210 of 2014.

The case was scheduled for March 27 and May 12 before being postponed for the same reason.

On April 11, 2015,  Al-Qabany was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment without being informed of his referral to trial and without being interrogated in the lawsuit against accusations of joining a group established in violation of the law while knowing its purposes, participating in a criminal agreement aimed to attempt to overthrow the state’s constitution and its government using force, publishing and spreading false news and information domestically and abroad about the domestic situation of the country.  And after his arrest took place in May 2023,  Al-Qabany requested a retrial.

 

13 May 2024 sessions

Criminal Court

 

The Cairo Criminal Court (Third Circuit Terrorism) renewed the detention of the architect Hassan Abdel Hamid Hassan Ahmed for 45 days pending investigations in Case No. 488 of the 2019 (Supreme State Security Prosecution).

 

Abdel Hamid was arrested in November 2019 and presented to the prosecution in January 2020 on charges of joining a terrorist group and publishing and spreading false news and statements.

 

It is worth mentioning that Abdel Hamid was unlawfully detained in an unknown place from the time of his arrest until he was presented to the prosecution in violation of the constitution and the law. He was also tortured during his enforced disappearance.

 

Abdel Hamid is 55 years old, and suffers from several chronic diseases. He was also injured in a car accident in 1997, which caused cracks and fractures, and the installation of plates and screws in various places in his body.

 

During his detention, Abdel Hamid was hospitalized more than once. His father passed away in July 2020, and his mother died in April 2023.

Supreme State Security Prosecution

The Supreme State Security Prosecution renewed Muhammad Taha Abdel Mawjoud Taha’s detention for 15 days, pending investigations in Case No. 2526 of 2023 (Supreme State Security).

Taha was arrested on 10 March 2024 while returning from work outside the country to spend a vacation with his family.

Taha was presented to the Supreme State Security Prosecution on 11 March 2024. He was investigated in the case on charges of: joining a terrorist group, publishing and broadcasting false news and data that would harm security and public order, and using an account on social media networks for the purpose of publishing and broadcasting false news and data, before deciding to detain him pending investigation.

15 May 2024 sessions 

The prosecutor Office

A lawyer of the Foundation for Freedom of Thought and Expression “AFTE,” in cooperation with Mr. Khaled Ali’s law office, submitted report No. 30041 of 2024 to the prosecutor to investigate the unlawful detention of Mahmoud Muhammad Ahmed Hussein, known as the “T-shirt Detainee,” at the Khanka Police Department and the failure to implement the court’s decision to release him.

The Criminal Court decided, in April 23, 2024, to postpone the hearing of Mahmoud’s case until the session of June 26, 2024, and to release him with a financial guarantee of 10 thousand pounds.

The financial guarantee was paid the day after the decision, but at the end of April, Mahmoud was transferred from his Badr 1 Center detention center to the “May 15 detention point” in Helwan.

On May 1, he was transferred to Al-Marj Police Station, where the report on the incident for which Mahmoud was imprisoned was drawn up. 

This procedure is usually followed when the accused is released with a guarantee of his place of residence, despite the fact that Mahmoud was released with a financial guarantee.

In another arbitrary measure, the department refused to receive Mahmoud, and he was returned to the Ain Shams Police Department to remain detained there until he was transferred on May 2 to the “May 15 detention point” again.

On May 5, Mahmoud was transferred to the Khanka Police Station, where he resides, and he is still being unlawfully detained there.

Mahmoud faces a life sentence in absentia on charges of possessing firecrackers. To re-plead the case and oblige the prosecution to submit the original case.

In August 2023, Hussein was arrested in an ambush in Giza Governorate, in implementation of the verdict in absentia issued against him from the Emergency State Security Court in 2018 to life imprisonment in lawsuit No. 37883 of 2017 against charges of possession of firecrackers, which is the same case for which he was imprisoned for more than two years.

The events of the lawsuit date back to January 25, 2014, when the Al-Marg police forces arrested him when he was 17 years old, issued a report No. 715 of 2014, and referred him to the public prosecution office, which charged him with “joining a group established in violation of the provisions of the law, incitement and participating in demonstrations and possessing firecrackers.” He was released in March 2016.

Supreme State Security Prosecution

The Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to renew the detention of Mahmoud Nasser Ali Suleiman for 15 days pending investigations in Case No. 1410 of 2024 (Supreme State Security Prosecution).

Suleiman was arrested on May 1, 2024, from a street in Ismailia Governorate and remained unlawfully detained until May 4, 2024, when he was presented to the prosecution, which charged him with joining a terrorist group while knowing its purposes and publishing and broadcasting false news and statements that may harm security and public order, and use an account on social media to publish and broadcast false news.

Suleiman was not confronted with any posts on social media indicating that he had published any news.

 

16 May 2024 sessions

Public Prosecution

The Public Prosecution in Zagazig decided to detain Musab Rajab Arafat for 15 days pending investigations after he was detained in a new case No. 127 in Zagazig. The prosecution charged Musab with joining a terrorist group.

On June 25, Mossab finished a two-year prison sentence in connection with Case No. 2675 of 2020 (Zagazig Misdemeanor); instead of releasing him after serving the prescribed sentence, he was illegally detained for more than two months until he was brought before the Prosecution pending the case No. 8185 of 2020 (Belbis Misdemeanor), against charges of joining a terrorist group and possessing publications.

Follow Us:

Latest Update

Joint NGO letter on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to Egypt Joint NGO letter on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to Egypt and human rights We, the undersigned Egyptian, regional and international human rights organisations, urge the European Commission and member states to uphold international and EU law to ensure that macro-financial assistance to Egypt granted under EU regulations secures concrete, measurable, structural and timebound human rights progress and reforms in the country. Since the 2013 military ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has been ruled with an iron fist. Authorities have brutally and systematically silenced peaceful dissent, nearly wiped-out independent media and civil society, repressed political opposition, adopted and enacted repressive legislation, jailed tens of thousands of actual or perceived critics and severely undermined the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession. With very little civic, judicial, or parliamentary scrutiny, the authorities have faced virtually no accountability for their repressive policies and actions. In turn, this has contributed to the government’s failure to respect, protect and fulfil people’s social and economic rights, leading to setbacks for those most affected by the recurring economic crises in the country. From February 2024 onwards, Egypt’s donors including the United Arab Emirates, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Kingdom and the European Union provided or pledged around 57 billion USD in grants and loans. As part of this process, donors should ensure that the Egyptian authorities pursue and effectively implement reforms that improve respect for human rights alongside greater transparency and accountability. Donors must also ensure that economic and fiscal measures implemented as part of these programs do not contribute to the further erosion of people’s economic and social rights, especially in light of the continuing rise in poverty rates since the adoption of the first IMF program in 2016, as well as the Egyptian government’s inadequate spending levels on social protection, health and education. Any agreed macroeconomic reforms must reflect and uphold the legal obligations of all parties with regard to economic and social rights, notably in the areas of labour rights and environmental justice, and corporate accountability. We believe that structural reforms to strengthen rule of law, guarantee fair trials, open civic space, uphold the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and media freedom, and release all those arbitrarily detained, are crucial. Not only would they comply with Egypt’s constitution and international human rights obligations, but they would also address some of the root causes of Egypt’s financial and economic instability. This instability has severely impacted the economic and social rights of millions of people in Egypt, who will ultimately carry the burden of repaying Egypt’s debts, particularly those in vulnerable and marginalised situations. We note that EU regulations require that recipients of macro-financial assistance “adhere to the respect of human rights and effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system and the rule of law,” while the European Council stipulated that a precondition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance is that “Egypt continues to make concrete and credible steps towards respecting effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system, and the rule of law, and guaranteeing respect for human rights.” However, what those “concrete and credible steps” should be is not defined in the Commission’s proposal. As the Commission and Egyptian authorities negotiate Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to regulate the disbursement of EU funds to Egypt up to 2027, we urge the European Commission, Council and Parliament to ensure that: 1) The MoUs lay out a roadmap for structural reforms, with public, clear, specific and timebound indicators, targets and benchmarks for Egypt to meet its human rights obligations. 2) Egyptian authorities immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. 3) Egyptian authorities open civic and political space, by respecting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including before, during and after the 2025 parliamentary elections. If these steps are met the EU’s macro-financial assistance will contribute to concrete and lasting progress on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt, which is indispensable to ensure transparency and accountability, end impunity and help prevent the recurrence of economic crises in the country. Failing to set human rights benchmarks would instead be a blank check for further abuses and repression in Egypt. Signatories Amnesty International Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Committee for Justice Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF) Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) EgyptWide for Human Rights EuroMed Rights International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Human Rights Watch Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC) Minority Rights Group Refugees Platform In Egypt (RPE) Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)Joint NGO letter on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to Egypt and human rights We, the undersigned Egyptian, regional and international human rights organisations, urge the European Commission and member states to uphold international and EU law to ensure that macro-financial assistance to Egypt granted under EU regulations secures concrete, measurable, structural and timebound human rights progress and reforms in the country. Since the 2013 military ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has been ruled with an iron fist. Authorities have brutally and systematically silenced peaceful dissent, nearly wiped-out independent media and civil society, repressed political opposition, adopted and enacted repressive legislation, jailed tens of thousands of actual or perceived critics and severely undermined the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession. With very little civic, judicial, or parliamentary scrutiny, the authorities have faced virtually no accountability for their repressive policies and actions. In turn, this has contributed to the government’s failure to respect, protect and fulfil people’s social and economic rights, leading to setbacks for those most affected by the recurring economic crises in the country. From February 2024 onwards, Egypt’s donors including the United Arab Emirates, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Kingdom and the European Union provided or pledged around 57 billion USD in grants and loans. As part of this process, donors should ensure that the Egyptian authorities pursue and effectively implement reforms that improve respect for human rights alongside greater transparency and accountability. Donors must also ensure that economic and fiscal measures implemented as part of these programs do not contribute to the further erosion of people’s economic and social rights, especially in light of the continuing rise in poverty rates since the adoption of the first IMF program in 2016, as well as the Egyptian government’s inadequate spending levels on social protection, health and education. Any agreed macroeconomic reforms must reflect and uphold the legal obligations of all parties with regard to economic and social rights, notably in the areas of labour rights and environmental justice, and corporate accountability. We believe that structural reforms to strengthen rule of law, guarantee fair trials, open civic space, uphold the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and media freedom, and release all those arbitrarily detained, are crucial. Not only would they comply with Egypt’s constitution and international human rights obligations, but they would also address some of the root causes of Egypt’s financial and economic instability. This instability has severely impacted the economic and social rights of millions of people in Egypt, who will ultimately carry the burden of repaying Egypt’s debts, particularly those in vulnerable and marginalised situations. We note that EU regulations require that recipients of macro-financial assistance “adhere to the respect of human rights and effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system and the rule of law,” while the European Council stipulated that a precondition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance is that “Egypt continues to make concrete and credible steps towards respecting effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system, and the rule of law, and guaranteeing respect for human rights.” However, what those “concrete and credible steps” should be is not defined in the Commission’s proposal. As the Commission and Egyptian authorities negotiate Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to regulate the disbursement of EU funds to Egypt up to 2027, we urge the European Commission, Council and Parliament to ensure that: 1) The MoUs lay out a roadmap for structural reforms, with public, clear, specific and timebound indicators, targets and benchmarks for Egypt to meet its human rights obligations. 2) Egyptian authorities immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. 3) Egyptian authorities open civic and political space, by respecting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including before, during and after the 2025 parliamentary elections. If these steps are met the EU’s macro-financial assistance will contribute to concrete and lasting progress on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt, which is indispensable to ensure transparency and accountability, end impunity and help prevent the recurrence of economic crises in the country. Failing to set human rights benchmarks would instead be a blank check for further abuses and repression in Egypt. Signatories Amnesty International Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Committee for Justice Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF) Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) EgyptWide for Human Rights EuroMed Rights International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Human Rights Watch Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC) Minority Rights Group Refugees Platform In Egypt (RPE) Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)and human rights

To subscribe to AFTE’s monthly newsletter

leave your email address below