Urgent Action: TORTURED SON OF OPPOSITION FIGURE HELD INCOMMUNICADO (Egypt: UA 29.23)
March 29, 2023
Anas al-Beltagy, who has been arbitrarily detained for over nine years solely due to his family links, is being held in incommunicado in the Badr Prison Complex, some 70 km east of Cairo, and is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. He has been denied any visits and other contact with his family for over six years. Since his arrest in December 2013, Egyptian authorities have subjected Anas al-Beltagy to a litany of violations including enforced disappearance and torture. Concerns for his wellbeing and physical and mental health have mounted in recent weeks amid alarming reports emerging from the Badr Prison Complex about prisoner suicides and hunger strikes in protest at their conditions.
Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on May 24, 2023.
Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Office of the President Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax +202 2391 1441
Email: [email protected]
Anas al-Beltagy, the 30-year-old son of detained prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagy, has been arbitrarily detained for over nine years solely because of his family affiliation. Despite courts acquitting him of all charges in four separate cases and a judge’s decision to provisionally release him in a fifth case, the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) ordered his detention pending investigations into a separate sixth case on similar spurious terrorism-related accusations. This well-documented pattern is referred to as “rotation” by Egyptian activists and lawyers and is intended to keep critics and opponents locked up indefinitely. Since his transfer to the Badr Prison Complex in November 2022, his detention renewal hearings have been held online, further violating his fair trial rights to meaningfully challenge the legality of his detention and adequate defence. During online hearings, defence lawyers are present in the courtroom with the judges, while the defendant is connected from a room in the prison in the presence of security officials. Lawyers frequently complain of technical problems during online hearings, including poor connectivity and their inability to adequately hear defendants.
Since his arrest, Anas al-Beltagy has been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including through prolonged solitary confinement and deliberate denial of healthcare. He has been banned from any visits, phone calls or written correspondence with his family and lawyers since 2017. Anas al-Beltagy, who was a university student when he was arrested in December 2013, has been unable to continue his studies in prison despite attempts to enrol in more than seven universities. He has been held in Badr Prison 1, about 70 km east of Cairo, since November 2022 in cruel and inhuman conditions of detention. For months, he was held in solitary confinement in a freezing cell with fluorescent lights switched on 24 hours a day, not permitted any exercise outdoors and denied any contact with other prisoners. Prison officials continue to ban his family from bringing him any food, climate-appropriate clothes, and medicine. During his detention renewal hearings, in which he sometimes appears with his hands and legs cuffed, he complained about the deterioration of his physical and mental health and psychological condition due to his detention conditions.
In light of the above, I urge you to ensure that Anas al-Beltagy is immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against him are dropped as they are brought solely because of his family links and his exercise of his human rights. Pending his release, I call on you to ensure that he is held in conditions meeting international standards for the treatment of prisoners and granted regular access to his family, lawyers and adequate healthcare.