Journalist Mohamed Salah has been arbitrarily detained for 20 months without charge or trial. After a court ordered his release, prosecutors detained him pending investigations into a new case on bogus terrorism accusations. No investigations were opened into claims that he had been beaten at a police station in December 2020. Two journalists, married couple Solafa Magdy and Hossam el-Sayed, who were arrested together with Mohamed Salah in November 2019, were provisionally released on April 14, 2021 pending investigations.
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Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawi
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Madinat al-Rehab – Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2577 4716
Email: [email protected]
I am writing to raise concerns about the arbitrary detention of journalist Mohamed Salah
since November 26, 2019 and about alarming reports that he has been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
On July 19, 2020, a court ordered Mohamed Salah’s release in relation to case No. 488 of 2019, connected to the March 2019 anti-government protests, and he was transferred to Dar Essalam police station in Cairo on July 23, 2020 in preparation for his release. However, on August 23, 2020, the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), a special branch of the Public Prosecution responsible for prosecuting crimes that relate to “state security”, ordered his detention pending investigations into a new case (No. 855/2020) over unfounded terrorism accusations.
According to his family, he was not allowed visits from his transfer to the police station on July 23, 2020 until December 28, 2020, when relatives saw him for a few minutes after having submitted multiple requests and complaints in December 2020 to the Cabinet of Egypt, which is presided by the Prime Minister. Relatives of his cellmates followed suit in submitting similar complaints. On January 8, 2021, in apparent retaliation for these complaints, security forces stripped the fourteen detainees held in Cell 6 of Dar Essalam police station naked, suspended them by their feet and beat them using batons and water pipes. Security forces also confiscated their blankets, flooded the cell with cold water and denied them health care, including for injuries sustained as a result of beatings. On January 10, 2021, Mohamed Salah was transferred to the Tora Investigations Prison, in Cairo, but barred from family visits until the end of March 2021. Informed sources reported that Mohamed Salah’s injuries were infected and his torn clothes were covered with blood when he was first transferred to prison. He received some basic treatment at the prison clinic, including bandage changes. Authorities ignored lawyer and family requests to refer him to forensic examination to record his injuries.
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Mohamed Salah as he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his human rights and to open prompt, independent, impartial, and effective investigations into allegations that he had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in Dar Essalam police station . Pending his release, he must be granted access to regular family visits, his lawyers and adequate health care and protected from further torture and other ill-treatment.