Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist Haitham Mohamadein detained since May 12, 2019

Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist Haitham Mohamadein detained since May 12, 2019

On May 12, 2019, human rights lawyer Haitham Mohamadein went missing after he was arrested at El Saf police station in Giza, where he had been summoned. He reappeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), which charged him with “joining a terrorist organisation” and ordered his pre-trial detention. In March 2021, Mohamadein was added by the SSSP to a new case on similar accusations. He is currently being held at a Central Security Forces Camp on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.

On May 12, 2019, Mohamadein was summoned to El Saf police station in Giza in relation to the probationary measures issued against him in Case No. 718 of 2018, a case in which he was charged on May 19, 2018, with “aiding a terrorist organisation to achieve its goals” and “calling for illegal protests”. His prosecution in this case was condemned by several UN Special Procedures in a joint allegation letter and a press release highlighting the “systematic targeting of human rights defenders” by the Egyptian authorities. 

After presenting himself at El Saf police station on May 12, 2019, Mohamadein went missing. On May 13, police officers at El Saf police station at first denied his detention, then later acknowledged his presence in the police station while denying his family and lawyer their right to visit or contact him.

On May 14, 2019, the police officers at El Saf police station submitted a report to the prosecution on Mohamadein’s alleged lack of compliance with his probationary measures in Case No. 718 of 2018. However, Mohamadein was held in custody at the police station and neither he nor his lawyer were given the right to read or challenge the report. After the office of the prosecutor returned the report back to El Saf police station without any decision having been taken on the case, the police officers submitted the report to the prosecution for a second time on May 15.

On May 16, several of Mohamadein’s colleagues saw him by chance while he was being brought before the SSSP. They discovered that Mohamadein was being prosecuted in another case (Case No. 741 of 2019) on allegations of “joining a terrorist group”. The prosecutor questioned him about his “suspected intention” to carry out advocacy and to protest or call for protests during the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, accusations that Mohamadein denied. The prosecutor ordered his 15-day pre-trial detention, which was subsequently renewed multiple times.

Mohamadein was then transferred to a Central Security Forces Camp on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, where he is currently being held.

On May 29, 2019, MENA Rights Group requests intervention of several UN Special Procedures mandate holders.

On July 19, 2019, several UN Special Procedures mandate holders sent a joint allegation to the Egyptian authorities (AL EGY 7/2019), expressing their concerns regarding the prosecution of Mohamadein and the conflation of peaceful public protest, and criticism, with terrorism.

On November 27, 2019, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered Mohamadein’s conditional release. However, on November 28, 2019, the prosecution successfully challenged the court order.

On June 2, 2020, UN experts sent another joint allegation to the Egyptian authorities (AL EGY 7/2020).

On March 8, 2021, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered his release on probation in Case No. 741 of 2019. He was, however, never released, but instead added by the SSSP to a new case on March 10, 2021 (Case No. 1956 of 2019), based on the accusation of “joining a terrorist organisation” – the very same accusation brought against him in Case No. 741 of 2019.

On December 2, 2021, MENA Rights Group submitted Mohamadein’s case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, asking them to issue an Opinion as to the arbitrary nature of his detention. MENA Rights Group highlighted the fact that Mohamadein was subjected to the practice of “rotation” (tadweer), which is used by the Egyptian authorities to circumvent pre-trial detention maximum periods and prolong the detention de facto indefinitely.

Timeline

December 2, 2021: MENA Rights Group requests the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to issue an Opinion on Mohamadein’s case, arguing that he is subjected to the practice of “rotation” and is therefore detained arbitrarily.
March 10, 2021: Mohamadein is added by the SSSP to a new case (Case No. 1956/2019), based on the accusation of “joining a terrorist organisation”.
March 8, 2021: The Cairo Criminal Court ordered his release on probation in Case No. 741/2019.
June 2, 2020: UN experts send another joint allegation to the Egyptian authorities (AL EGY 7/2020).
November 28, 2019: State prosecution appeals the court order, resulting in the order being revoked.
November 27, 2019: The Cairo Criminal Court orders Mohamadein’s conditional release.
July 19, 2019: Several UN Special Procedures mandate holders send a joint allegation (AL EGY 7/2019) to the Egyptian authorities regarding Mohamadein’s case.
May 29, 2019: MENA Rights Group requests the intervention of several UN Special Procedures mandate holders.
May 16, 2019: Mohamadein is brought before the SSSP, which charges him with “joining a terrorist group” (Case No. 741/2019) and orders his pre-trial detention. He is transferred to Central Security Forces Camp on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.
May 14, 2019: Police officers submit report to the prosecution on Mohamadein’s alleged lack of compliance with probationary measures.
May 13, 2019: Police officers at first deny his detention, then acknowledge his custody in El Saf police station while denying his right to receive visits or make contact with the outside world.
May 12, 2019: Mohamadein is summoned to El Saf police station in Giza, arrested and disappeared.

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