In a Wednesday decision, South Giza Criminal Court ordered doctor and activist Taher Mokhtar and his roommates to be released on bail, after lawyers filed a motion to protest their continued detention beyond the legal pretrial limit.
Their lawyer Mokhtar Mourni told Mada Masr that Mokhtar, Ahmed “Istakoza” Hassan and Ahmed “Sam” Hossam have paid the court-ordered LE5,000 bail.
Mourni stated that the prosecution does not plan to appeal the court’s decision, adding that his clients have been transferred to Cairo’s Khalifa Police Station where they await the processing of administrative paperwork to secure their release. The lawyer expects prison authorities to file the requisite documents within the next two days.
The three men have been held in police custody beyond the legal pretrial detention limit since July 15. Despite their extralegal detention, the South Giza Criminal Court issued a week-long detention renewal order, which was followed by another 15-day order. In response, lawyers filed an appeal to secure the men’s release.
Mokhtar, Hassan and Hossam were arrested on January 14 during a series of raids ahead of the fifth anniversary of the January 25 revolution. Security forces reportedly confiscated printed materials on prison health care reform that belonged to Mokhtar from the apartment. The men were charged with possession of seditious materials that called for alterations to the national constitution and the overthrow of the government.
Mounir previously told Mada Masr that a police investigation team had accused the men of disseminating calls for protests against the regime on the anniversary of the revolution, an accusation separate from that issued by the prosecution. Mounir has since added that the belongings confiscated by the arresting officers did not include printed material calling for protests. Rather, police seized the men’s laptops and cellphones, in addition to a Doctors Syndicate report outline the deteriorating health conditions in Egypt’s prisons.
In mid July, 12 human rights organization issued a joint statement calling for the release of Mokhtar and his housemates. This statement asserted that Mokhtar’s activism rendered him vulnerable to arrest upon the orders of the government, adding that “a full six months have elapsed since the jailing of doctor Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Doctors Syndicate’s Liberties Committee, and his roommates, without any real legal charge.”
The statement alleged that the Egyptian government uses its security forces to stifle political oposition and any dissenting voice, a continued violation of the Constituion and Egyptian law. Since 2013, security personnel have regained a prominent place in influencing the government’s policies, the statement added.
“Egypt’s justice system has been greatly unhinged to the extent that judicial verdicts may be issued on the basis of political directives from beyond the halls of justice – according to the identity, affiliations and/or the activities of the defendant, which may serve to push society into the abyss,” the statement concluded.