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PEN International welcomes the release of Ibrahim al-Husseini on 14 February 2019. Al-Husseini was arrested at his home on 9 December 2018 and his pre-trial detention was renewed on a charge of inciting a demonstration. In his articles and social media posts, al-Husseini criticized both dictatorships and religious extremism in Egypt.
On 7 February 2019, an Egyptian court ordered al-Husseini’s release on bail, but the public prosecutor appealed this decision. On the 9th February 2019, the court refused the appeal and confirmed al-Husseini’s release on bail of five thousand Egyptian pounds (approximately US$285). It took several days to complete the security procedures before al-Husseini was released on 14 February 2019.
“We welcome al-Husseini’s release and continue to call for any charges against him solely relating to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression to be dropped” - Rebecca Sharkey, Campaigns and Communications Director at PEN International.
PEN International also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all other writers currently detained in Egypt in connection with the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly, in accordance with Articles 9, 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party.
PEN International has been supporting al-Husseini since his arrest and called for his release as he was targeted for peacefully exercising his right to free expression through writing and activism. PEN will continue to closely monitor al-Husseini’s case as the next hearing is expected to be held in the upcoming months.
Al-Husseini is the author of short stories including his latest collection entitled Leil which is published by the Supreme Council for Culture in Egypt.
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 84th World Congress in 2018, 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.
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