Egypt's Criminal Court orders release of woman imprisoned over torture claims in BBC report

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Jul 2019

The Cairo criminal court ordered the release of Mona Mahmoudalso,also known as Um Zubaida, under precautionary measures.

Mahmoudalso was jailed for spreading false news claiming that her daughter was in detention for over a year.

Um Zubaida made headlines after a 2018 interview with the BBC where she said that her daughter had been tortured and taken by security services.

She faced charges including "publishing and broadcasting false news that could harm the country's national interests" and joining an illegal group, in reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The charges come from the woman's claims during an interview with the BBC that her daughter, Zubaida, had not been seen since 2017 after being apprehended by security forces, and that she was tortured in detention during her previous stint in custody.

Her account was part of a short documentary and online report by the BBC on what it said were cases of forced disappearances and tortures carried out by Egyptian security forces.

Um Zubaida's daughter appeared shortly after the BBC’s report and denied being tortured or abducted.

Egyptian authorities have described the BBC report as full of lies and full of unsubstantiated allegations, prompting the State Information Service to urge officials to boycott the public broadcaster until an apology is published.

The BBC was briefly taken to court, under the threat of having its bureau shut down in Cairo; however, the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters ruled that it lacks jurisdiction over the matter in June 2018.

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