After almost a week of disappearance, leftist activists Gamal Abdel Fattah and Hassan Hussein have appeared and been interrogated by State Security Prosecution, who issued a 15-day detention order for both men on Wednesday, according to lawyer Mokhtar Mounir.
Wednesday’s interrogation was the second round of the prosecution’s questioning of the two defendants, after a first session that took place on Tuesday in the absence of lawyers, Mounir told Mada Masr.
Hussein, 62, was detained last Friday, while Abdel Fattah, 72, was detained on February 28. Both men were arrested from their residences by police forces.
Following the arrests, the two veteran activists were disappeared, and their families and lawyers were not able to contact them or determine their whereabouts until Wednesday’s interrogations.
The prosecution have charged the two activists with joining a terrorist group, using social media to publicize the group’s ideas, inciting acts of terrorism in writing and disseminating false news.
Rights organization the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) filed a complaint on March 1 with the Giza Prosecution regarding Abdel Fattah’s arrest.
ANHRI demanded “an urgent investigation concerning the unlawful arrest of Abdel Fattah and his forced disappearance,” highlighting that Abdel Fattah was not informed of his charges and was unable to contact his family or lawyers.
Similarly, the family of Hussein — who is former member of the Kefaya movement and the leftist Karama Party — filed formal complaints with the public prosecutor, interior minister, head of the Supreme State Security Prosecution and the head of South Giza Prosecution to report his detention in an undisclosed location.
Abdel Fattah was previously detained by police near the Journalists Syndicate in downtown Cairo in January 2016, at which point, he discovered that he had been sentenced in absentia by the Sayeda Zeinab Misdemeanour Court in 2015 to five years in prison and issued a LE500 fine. He was convicted by the court of “promoting changes to constitutional articles,” and “sabotaging state institutions,” and the possession of publications promoting these aims.
Abdel Fattah later appealed this sentence and was acquitted by the same court in March 2016.