24 February, 2020
EGYPT: FREEDOM FOR MOHAMED EL-BAQER
This post was first published by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies on their website
After having his detention renewed by Egypt’s State Security Prosecution, rendering the cumulative time he has been deprived of his freedom as 150 days – (the maximum time period allowed for the prosecution to renew detention without giving rationale or explanation), lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, founder of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, began his ordeal yesterday in front of the Cairo Criminal Court. El-Baqer is currently detained at the police station in Tora Prison.
The Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms
The Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms was founded in 2014 by a group of human rights defenders, lawyers, and researchers to advocate for human rights principles by providing legal aid, litigation and documentation in three programs: criminal justice, student rights and the right to education, and refugee rights.
El-Baqer was arrested from the premises of the State Security Prosecution on 29th of September 2019 while acting as a defense lawyer for Alaa Abdel Fattah, after which, both were charged under High Sate Security Case no. 1356. They were charged with joining a terrorist group – without any clarification of the nature of the group, and with disseminating false news, again without any specification of the nature of that news.
After a “reception” during which both El-Baqer and Abdel Fattah were subjected to beatings and humiliation, they were blindfolded and taken to the Tora Prison, the maximum security wing. In prison, they were denied time outside their cells, reading, correspondence, hot water, a bed or mattress and even heavy clothing despite the cold weather.
Al-Baqer’s lawyers have not yet been able to obtain a copy of his case file to clarify the nature and details of the charges against him, according to which his imprisonment has been renewed every 15 days. Today he begins the first day of his 45-day detention renewal in front of the court. The undersigned organizations hope that the legal proceedings will provide long overdue answers to the following questions:
-Why is Mohamed El-Baqer in prison? Will the court clarify or expound upon the reasons why El-Baqer is deprived of his freedom, his family and his profession?
- What terrorist act did El-Baqer commit?
- Why are Tora Prison officials insisting on depriving El-Baqer of his rights granted by the law and the constitution?
- Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- Committee for Justice
- Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
- Egyptian Front for Human Rights
- El Nadeem Center against Violence and Torture