Lawyer reports denial of rights, medical treatment for detained activists in 2 prominent cases

Detention renewal orders were issued in two ongoing cases involving several prominent defendants on Tuesday, as their lawyer Amr Imam reported that authorities are denying them medical attention and holding some in solitary confinement, among other infringements on their rights.

In Case 441/2018, which involves a range of defendants including journalists, lawyers and activists, the detention of activist and blogger Wael Abbas and documentary filmmaker Momen Hassan was renewed for 15 days on Tuesday by the Supreme State Security Prosecution, according to Imam.  Defendants in the case face charges of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news.

The lawyer told Mada Masr that Abbas, who was arrested on May 23, suffers from a heart condition, but that prison authorities have still not permitted him to see a specialist.

In early August, it was reported that Abbas had not been transferred to a hospital for treatment, despite an order from the prosecution. According to Imam, Abbas’ defense team attempted to file another request for medical attention. The prosecution responded that it had already agreed to the request, to which the defense team informed them that it had not been implemented, prompting the prosecution to issue another order on Tuesday.

In a different case involving several high-profile arrests, Imam told Mada Masr that the Supreme State Security Prosecution also issued 15-day detention orders to former ambassador Masoum Marzouk, university professor Yehia al-Qazzaz, Socialist Popular Alliance Party leader Raed Salama, and activists Amr Mohamed and Sameh Seoudy on Tuesday. They were among those arrested and made party to Case 1305/2018 in late August, over the Eid al-Adha holiday.

According to their lawyer, they are being held in solitary confinement without any justification, and a police officer is present during all their visitations. Additionally, while the prosecution issued orders for several of the defendants who suffer from health issues to undergo medical examination, prison authorities have refused to implement the orders, the lawyer added.

They have also been deprived of other rights, including access to books and newspapers, and their exercise time has been confined to only 30 minutes per day, and Imam reported that Qazzaz had faces difficulty meeting with the investigators in his case.

Egyptian security forces arrested Marzouk, Qazzaz, Salama, Seoudi and Mohamed, as well as university professor Abdel Fattah Saeed al-Banna and activist Nermeen Hussein, among other public figures and activists, on August 23.

The defendants were subsequently charged with aiding a terrorist organization, receiving funding for terrorist purposes and taking part in a criminal agreement with the intention of committing terrorist crimes — with the exception of Mohamed, who was instead charged with joining a terrorist organization.

Imam told Mada Masr that the Front for the Defense of Egyptian Protestors, an independent group of lawyers and rights organizations that provides legal support to detained protesters, intends to file a lawsuit challenging the practice of holding activists in solitary confinement.

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