Urgent Action Update: Detained Lawyer Denied Adequate Health Care (Egypt: UA 107.19)

July 14, 2020

Human rights lawyer and former parliamentarian, Zyad el-Elaimy, is being denied adequate health care by the Tora prison authorities, amid concerns that his underlying medical conditions put him at particular risk if exposed to COVID-19. Zyad has been arbitrarily detained for over a year, along with journalists and politicians, Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad, and 12 others over charges that relate to their peaceful political activities.

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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]
Twitter: @EgyptJustice
Ambassador Yasser Reda
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400 I Fax: 202 244 5131
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EgyptEmbassyUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Counselor,

Amid rising fears over the spread of COVID-19 in Egypt’s overcrowded prisons, prisoner of conscience Zyad el-Elaimy’s health is at risk, as he suffers from sarcoidosis, asthma, hypertension and diabetes. Despite this, the prison authorities deny him access to adequate health care. According to a doctor with knowledge of his medical history, Zyad managed his health conditions before being imprisoned through regular diagnostic tests and adjustment of the dose of appropriate medications. However, his health has not been monitored on a regular basis during incarceration as prison authorities persistently refuse requests by his family and lawyers to conduct comprehensive medical evaluations. Zyad has also been denied medication for pericardial effusion, a condition he developed in prison. Without the proper diagnosis and treatment, Zyad’s health is at risk of further deterioration.

Zyad has been denied access to his lawyer and family since the Egyptian authorities suspended all prison visits on 10 March as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but failed to ensure regular alternative means of communication.

Zyad is facing three separate criminal proceedings as a result of his political activism. On 25 June 2019, security forces arbitrarily detained Zyad (in relation to case 930/2019, known as the “Hope Case”) on charges connected to his peaceful political activities. On 18 April 2020, the terrorism circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court included Zyad and 12 other detainees on Egypt’s “terrorism” lists for five years in relation to case 571/2020. The effect of the decision includes travel bans, asset freezes, and prohibition of political activities. On 2 June 2020, a higher court judge upheld his conviction and sentence in relation to case 684/2020 for conducting an interview with BBC Arabic on the human rights situation in Egypt.

I therefore ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Zyad el-Elaimy, Hossam Moanis, Hisham Fouad and other individuals detained in case 930/2019, as their detention is arbitrary and solely based on the peaceful exercise of their human rights. I call on you to also ensure that all the charges against them are dropped, and the decision to include Zyad el-Elaimy on the “terrorism” list is rescinded. Pending their release, I urge you to ensure that Zyad el-Elaimy and the other detainees are provided with adequate health care and the means to regularly communicate with their families and lawyers.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES