Several international organizations and Florence’s city council have called for the release of lawyer Malek Adly and an end to the intimidation he has faced in prison.
In a letter sent on June 9, the Brussels-based Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe urged President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to immediately release Adly.
“The CCBE asks you to guarantee, in all circumstances, that all lawyers in Egypt are able to express their opinions and perform their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment,” the council’s letter affirmed.
The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) also published a statement condemning Adly’s arrest and urging authorities to release him.
“Egypt is meeting criticism and peaceful protest with arrest and imprisonment. BHRC calls upon Egypt to comply with international law and allow freedom of expression as well as demonstrate respect for the protections for lawyers and journalists working in Egypt,” the committee’s statement read.
“If Egypt is to retain any respect for its justice system at an international level, a reverse of the recent crack-down against lawyers, journalists and civilians exercising their rights is required,” the statement continued.
During a meeting held on June 16, the Florence city also issued an appeal to Sisi, demanding Adly’s release and an end to the intimidation he faces in prison.
The Italian organization Progressi has launched a campaign to gather signatories to a petition urging Italy’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation to demand that Egyptian authorities free Adly.
Adly was arrested on May 5 and faces charges of inciting protests, spreading false news and attempting to overthrow the Egyptian government, all of which stem from his involvement in contesting the sovereign transfer of Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.
Adly’s family and lawyers say he faces extremely difficult conditions in prison. In his latest hearing, held on June 14, Adly told judges that he has not seen sunlight in 40 days and that every part of his body aches due to sleeping on the floor.
“I don’t want you to set me free. I know that this is a price I have to pay. All I’m asking for is to be treated like any other prisoner. I’m being mistreated, as if I’m an Israeli spy. You know what? I want to be treated like any of them, like Hesham Talaat Mostafa or like any drug dealer or other corrupt prisoners,” Adly said.
In a complaint presented to the head of the Prisons Authority, Adly’s lawyers stated that he has been held in solitary confinement since he was arrested, forced to endure physical and mental abuse that is not commensurate with the crimes he is accused of committing. He has also been banned from the two-hours walk that should be allocated to him according to prison bylaws, in addition to being prohibited from attending daily prayer at the prison’s mosque. Lawyers have also complained about the conditions of Adly’s prison cell, claiming that it is poorly furnished.