Sabahi, Shukrallah ask Egypt's prosecution to release political detainees

Ahram Online, Monday 25 Aug 2014

Prominent Egyptian political figures urge prosecutor-general to release political detainees who are being held before trials

Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi (L) and Egyptian Popular Current, head of the Constitution Party Hala Shukrallah (R) (Photo: Ahram Online archive)

A number of Egyptian political figures filed a report on Monday to the prosecutor-general demanding the release of political detainees from "pre-trial detentions," Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

The figures include former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, on behalf of the Egyptian Popular Current, head of the Constitution Party Hala Shukrallah, representing her political party, and political activist George Ishak, representing Egypt's National Council for Human Rights.

Sabahi also requested the release of Sabahi's Popular Current Member Amr Salah, currently detained on charges of belonging to a terrorist group.

Sabahi said in a statement after Monday's visit to the prosecutor-general's office that he had requested to testify that Salah is a member of the Egyptian Popular Current and does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood – deemed a terrorist organisation by Egyptian authorities after the ouster of the group's president Mohamed Morsi last summer.

The legal petition also includes a request to release Sanaa Seif, the sister of detained activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, citing the deteriorating health conditions of her father, human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif El-Islam. Sanaa was detained pending investigations into charges of illegal protesting, as per a controversial law passed in December which bans unauthorised demonstrations.

Abdel-Fattah started a hunger strike in protest of his detention on 18 August. He and 24 others were recently sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail and fines of LE100,000 each on charges of rioting and attacking police officers during a protest in November 2013 against military trials for civilians. Their retrial is scheduled to begin on 10 September.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said in a statement on Monday that Mahienour El-Masry, a human rights activist jailed for breaching the protest law, also started a hunger strike on Sunday along with at least 11 other political detainees.

The organisation said the move comes in reaction to "unfair trials" and "noticeably prolonged pre-trial detentions" in cases that it describes as being matters of freedom of expression.

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