July 12, 2019

Amnesty International accused Egypt on Wednesday of detaining members of the opposition “indefinitely,” despite court orders ordering their release.

Amnesty International said it had documented five cases in which the Supreme State Security Prosecutor circumvented the court’s orders to release defendants by locking them up in new cases based on “trumped-up charges.”

“An attempt to keep them behind bars indefinitely” was an “alarming signal” of the country’s “decayed justice system,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for North Africa and the Middle East.

Amnesty International confirmed that this practice is very similar to administrative detention under the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak. Under emergency law security forces were able to arrest opponents.

“This is a worrying trend,” said Najia Bounaim.

Among the cases documented by Amnesty is that of Ola Al-Qaradawi, the daughter of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has been in prison since June 2017 and has been accused by the Egyptian authorities of belonging to a terrorist group.

Despite a court decision on July 3 to release her, the State Security Prosecution ordered her detention the next day based on another unfounded case.

Amnesty said Ola al-Qaradawi was targeted because of her father’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which opposes the Egyptian regime.

The organisation also referred to the case of al-Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, who was arrested in Cairo in late December 2016. Egyptian security forces have accused him of “belonging to a terrorist organisation,” “receiving foreign funding” and “spreading false information.”

The court ordered the release of Mahmoud Hussein on May 21, but a week later the Supreme State Security Prosecution charged him with a new set of charges and issued a new order to arrest him.

Amnesty International also referred to the case of activists Somaya Nasef and Marwa Madbouli, who were re-imprisoned on fabricated charges after being released.