Activist doctor Taher Mokhtar and housemates’ detention renewed for 45 days
Courtesy: AFTE
 

A Cairo court on Sunday renewed the detention of activist and doctor Taher Mokhtar and his roommates for 45 days, local rights groups announced.

The three men were arrested during a series of raids ahead of the anniversary of the January 25 revolution.

Mokhtar and his roommates, university students Ahmed Hassan (aka Istakoza) and Ahmed Hossam (aka Sam), have been detained since January 14.

They have been accused of possession of publications that call for the overthrow of the government. Their pre-trial detention has been repeatedly renewed while the charges are investigated, and the court has rejected appeals to release Hassan and Hossam.

Security forces reportedly confiscated printed materials on health care reform in prisons belonging to Mokhtar from his apartment.

A member of the rights and freedoms committee at the Doctors Syndicate, Mokhtar is a prominent health activist and a member of advocacy group Medical Neglect in Places of Detention is a Crime, which campaigns for health and medical care for prisoners. After his arrest, the syndicate publicly confirmed that it had assigned Mokhtar to follow-up on detainee health care. 

“Statements demanding a reform of health conditions and describing medical neglect in prisons as a crime is not a criminal breach,” a coalition of local rights groups wrote in a January statement demanding the release of Mokhtar and his companions. “Egyptian law describes medical neglect as a crime and the Constitution in Article 18 establishes health as a right for all citizens.”

Mokhtar’s case has attracted support from international rights groups like Human Rights Watch, as well as local NGOs. “Instead of arresting people like Dr. Mokhtar, Egyptian authorities should be working to improve conditions for prisoners,” Nadim Houry, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director said in a May statement.

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