Hossam Bahgat, founder and chairman of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said on Monday that the authorities had detained its executive director, Jasser Abdel Razek, and held him incommunicado and in inhumane conditions for three days after his arrest last week.
The Egyptian authorities arrested Abdel Razek last week in a case that sparked public criticism from the United Nations and Western diplomats. The three human rights defenders face charges that include joining a terrorist group and spreading false news after senior diplomats visited the human rights organisation to obtain a briefing on the human rights situation on 3 November. Bahgat added to Reuters, “Jasser is receiving special, inhuman, and degrading treatment deliberately, even compared to the rest of the inmates in Tora Liman Prison, which aims to harm him and endanger his health and safety.” Bahgat added that Abdel Razek’s hair was shaved, he has no warm clothes, and was given a metal bed frame without a mattress.
Several European countries, the United States, and Canada criticised the arrest of employees of the human rights organisation, while the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected any attempt to influence the Public Prosecution investigations. The Egyptian regime usually denies political prisoners’ existence, while critics believe that the arrests are an unprecedented escalation of civil society and the political opposition.