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Egypt: Health concern for imprisoned writer

Monday 7 January 2019 - 5:02pm

7 January 2019

RAN 01/19

Available in Arabic  متوفر بالعربية

PEN International is deeply concerned about the health conditions of Ibrahim al-Husseini, an Egyptian writer who has been detained since his arrest on 9 December 2018. Al-Husseini was arrested at his home in Cairo by serval security agents who confiscated a number of his books and electronic devices. According to his family, the arrest is related to his social media posts in which he commented on events in Egypt and France. Al-Husseini suffers from a number of serious health problems which require regular medical care.

On 5 January 2019, al-Husseini’s pre-trial detention has been renewed for another 15 days on a charge of inciting a demonstration. PEN believes that the charge against al-Husseini is politically motivated, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release, and for him to be provided with adequate medical care. We also call on the Egyptian authorities to free all those held solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and association.

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Send appeals to the Egyptian authorities:

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of al-Husseini and to drop all charges against him;
  • Expressing serious concern for al-Husseini’s health and well-being and ensuring that, pending his release, he is provided with adequate medical care, and he has full access to family visits and legal representation;
  • Urging them to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and association in Egypt is fully respected in law and practice in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party

Please send appeals:

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Office of the President,

 Al-Ittihadia Palace, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt,

Fax: +202 2 391 1441 Email: p.spokeman@op.gov.eg - Moh_moussa@op.gov.eg

Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Justice

 Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rahim

 Ministry of Justice, Lazoghly Sq

Fax: +202 2 795 8103

Email: mjustice@moj.gov.eg

Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Interior

 Mahmoud Tawfik,

 Ministry of Interior, Fifth Settelment, New Cairo, Egypt

 Fax: +202 2794 5529

 Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg

Salutation: Dear Minister

It is recommended that you send a copy of your appeals via the diplomatic representative for Egyptin your country. Contact details for embassies can be found here

Please inform PEN of any action you take, and of any responses you receive.

 Background

Ibrahim al-Husseini, 63 years old, is a writer and activist. He is the author of short stories including his latest collection entitled Leil which is published by the Supreme Council for Culture in Egypt. In his articles, al-Husseini criticized both dictatorships and religious extremism in Egypt. Al-Husseini has been defending social justice since the 1970s. Due to his peaceful activities and critical writing, he was previously subjected to arrests and detentions.

After his arrest in the early morning of 9 December 2018, al-Husseini has been taken to the Shubra al-Kheima Police Station before being transferred to an unknown location. He has been held at different locations and reportedly interrogated for 18 hours and denied access to a lawyer or to his family. His family were only allowed to deliver him medicine four days after his arrest. On 23 December 2018, the State Security Prosecution ordered al-Husseini’s pre-trial detention for 15 days on a charge of “inciting a demonstration”. Al-Husseini’s pre-trial detention has been renewed on 5 January 2019 for another 15 days.

Al-Husseini suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. On 25 December, his health condition has suddenly worsened. He had bleeding all night and was transferred to a hospital the next day where he received an initial examination and was cannulated with intravenous fluid as saline. Doctors needed to conduct an endoscopy to figure what is causing the bleeding and monitor his case but he was taken back to prison. His family, who recently visited him in prison for less than ten minutes due to restrictions, said that his health conditions have deteriorated. Despite this, al-Husseini is being kept in an extremely tight cell with four other detainees. Lawyers are still being denied access to the investigation report or record.

The situation for freedom of expression and opinion in Egypt has deteriorated sharply since the arrival of President al-Sisi into power in 2014. Many journalists and writers have been arrested or forced to flee the country. PEN passed a Resolution on Egypt at its 82nd World Congress and noted with concern the rise in the number of writers and journalists who have been detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, including for journalistic, artistic, or human rights work (click here to read more about PEN International’s work on Egypt).

For any further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: Nael.Georges@pen-international.org