HRW calls on Egypt to release mother of detainee Abdelrahman Al-Showeikh

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Human Rights Watch called on the Egyptian regime to immediately and unconditionally release a woman who was arrested for publishing a letter from her detained son, Abdelrahman Al-Showeikh, revealing that he was tortured and sexually assaulted in prison.

HRW confirmed that Hoda Abdel Hamid was detained after filing a complaint about her detained son’s torture and sexual assault. Abdelrahman, 29, has been held in Minya Maximum-Security Prison for 15 months. He has been sentenced to 32 years in prison. Security forces arrested Abdelrahman’s mother, father, and 18-year-old sister on 26 April and raided their home in Cairo. His father and sister were later released. However, Hoda remains in detention.

Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at HRW Joe Stork said that Egypt’s authorities are “persecuting the messenger,” in relation to his mother, and that “arresting Abdelrahman Al-Showeikh’s family underscores the abysmal state of Egypt’s so-called justice system.” Hoda posted a letter on her Facebook account, which was given to her by her son. The letter revealed how a fellow prisoner aided by prison officers and guards tied him up, took off his clothes, and sexually assaulted him. Many activists re-shared the post.

The letter named the prisoner and four of the officers and called on his mother to report the incident to human rights organisations and the United Nations. After his mother’s Facebook post, Abdelrahman was beaten up so severely by prison guards he was hospitalised more than once.

According to his younger brother, who lives in Turkey, prisoners appeared in front of the prosecution to say that Abdelrahman was on medication for mental illness, which his family refutes.