National rights council thanks prosecution for prisoner releases


The National Council for Human Rights released a statement on Tuesday expressing gratitude towards the Public Prosecution for deciding to release 12 detainees for health concerns, including hunger-striking Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah al-Shamy.


The statement said that the Council hopes the decision marks the beginning of a re-evaluation process regarding the situation of detainees who have not been assigned a trial date and the release of those who have not been proven to commit violence, especially children, students, and the those who are unwell, the state-owned Middle East News Agency reported.


The Ministry of Interior refused to allow the Council’s monitors to visit hunger-striking detainees Shamy and Mohamed Soltan on June 9.


On May 28, the general prosecutor’s office granted the Council permission to conduct the visit, but the Interior Ministry continued to refuse access to the detainees, without giving valid reasons.


The families of the two detainees condemned the Council and accused it of dragging its feet in dealing with their cases.


Shamy has been jailed for over 300 days. He was being held in solitary confinement at Al-Aqrab Maximum Security Prison.


He was arrested on August 14 during the dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in, organized to support ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The journalist’s detention was repeatedly renewed, though his case has never been referred to trial.


On June 11, Cairo Criminal Court extended his detention, along with 462 other prisoners, for an additional 45 days, pending investigations.


Shamy’s case gained widespread attention after he entered a hunger strike on January 21 to protest his detention. His health has rapidly deteriorated in recent weeks and leaked photos show a significant decrease in his weight.


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