EGYPT: DETENTION OF FORMER DECEASED PRESIDENT MORSI'S STAFF CONTINUES DESPITE UN WORKING GROUP OPINION ORDERING THEIR RELEASE
On 7 June 2022, Alkarama addressed to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) asking them to call on the Egyptian authorities to release the staff members of former Egyptian President Dr Mohamed Morsi arrested following the military coup in 2013.
An urgent appeal was first submitted by Alkarama to the Working Group following which Opinion No. 39/2013 dated 13 November 2013 was adopted, confirming the arbitrary nature of the detention of Morsi's staff. Among them were Dr Ahmed Abdel ATTY, Dr Essam AL-HADDAD, Mr Khaled EL-KAZAZ, Mr Asaad EL-SHEIKHA, Ayman ALI and Mr ABDEL MAJID MASHALI.
Despite the Opinion, they remain incarcerated in inhumane conditions in Tora prison, Cairo. The Egyptian authorities refuse to release them in violation of its international commitments.
Alkarama therefore, once again turned, to the WGAD, in the framework of the follow-up procedure, to ensure that its decision is implemented and that the victims are released.
RECALL OF THE FACTS
On Wednesday 3 July 2013, following a military coup by the head of the army, the country's first democratically elected president, Dr Mohamed Morsi, was arrested under the orders of General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and detained along with his staff.
Mr Morsi and his staff were placed in solitary confinement, totally cut off from the outside world, in particularly cruel and inhumane conditions. They were held for a long period without any contact with their families and lawyers before being formally charged and transferred to the high security prison complex of Tora in the suburbs of Cairo.
THE "SCORPION" PRISON KNOWN FOR ITS SERIOUS VIOLATIONS
Over time, the conditions of detention of Mr. Morsi's collaborators have worsened and torture and ill-treatment of detainees inside the prison have been regularly reported by witnesses.
The so-called Scorpion prison is known to be a place where detainees are severely beaten by prison staff, isolated in cramped disciplinary cells, deprived of family visits and their lawyers. No medical care was provided despite their state of health.
These inhumane conditions of detention clearly violate fundamental international standards on the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.
It is in these circumstances that Alkarama first brought the situation of Mr Morsi and his staff to the attention of the Working Group through an urgent appeal dated 10 July 2013, following which an Opinion N°39/2013 dated 13 November 2013 was adopted.
However, since the suspicious death of the former Egyptian president during his trial in June 2019, which was considered an "arbitrary state-sanctioned execution" by the UN experts, there have been no significant developments regarding the situation of his fellow detainees. On the contrary, the victims are still held in total isolation and without access to their families and lawyers.
Their situation raises well-founded concerns on the part of their relatives and NGOs. After having convicted them following an unfair trial, Egyptian authorities continue to keep them arbitrarily detained in undignified conditions and in violation of international law.