Egypt: Arbitrary Detention of University Professor for Over 1 Year


On 22 October 2014, Alkarama and AFD International wrote to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to alert them on the case of Mohamed Abdelhamid Abdelhamid Kharaba, a university professor arbitrarily detained in Alexandria's Al-Hadra prison since his arrest on 24 November 2013. His family claims that Kharaba's fight against corruption at the University of Alexandria is the reason for his arrest. For this reason, his relatives reject the fabricated allegations against him.

Kharaba's fight against the abuses of the Dean of the University of Alexandria had already led him to be imprisoned during the Mubarak era, due to complicity of the authorities with the Dean and the absence of tangible measures to fight corruption in Egypt. After his release that followed the revolution, Kharaba returned to work at the University. He was, however, surprised to see intelligence and police officers show up at his house on the night of 24 November 2013. Arrested without any arrest warrant and without being told the reasons for his arrest, he was taken to the State security headquarters for questioning.

Kharaba was charged with "murders during the 14 August 2013 Rabaa Square events" and during the "16 August 2013 Ramses Square events", to have "robbed a bank", "burned a church", "incited to violence and chaos", "sought to disrupt the rule of law", and finally "to belong to a forbidden [political] group" and to be one of its leader. Outraged, Kharaba said he could not have taken part to any of the stated events since, at the time of the alleged facts, he was on holiday in Marsa Matruh.

Moreover, if he was a member of a political party other than the Muslim Brotherhood, he did not conduct any kind of activities within it, even less a leader role. It therefore appears that his arrest was political, linked to his denunciation of the Dean a few years earlier, and that those facts had been fabricated to justify his new arrest.

Despite his protests, he was re-examined by the prosecutor the next day, under new charges and without the presence of his lawyer. Following his audience, he was taken to the Al-Hadra prison, where he remains detained to this date without trial. Under Egyptian law and the charges held against him, he could see his detention renewed indefinitely.

Alkarama and AFD International have therefore seized the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) so that he renders an Opinion on the arbitrary nature of Kharaba's detention and calls upon the Egyptian authorities to release him immediately. The Egyptian authorities should stop using legal and judicial processes to muzzle opponents and citizens calling for reforms and, to this end, should ensure the independence of the judiciary.

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