Urgent Action Update: Detained Researcher in Critical Condition (Egypt: UA 104.19)
April 9, 2020
Detained human rights researcher Ibrahim Ezz El-Din’s health has deteriorated in Tora prison putting him at particular risk if exposed to COVID-19. Ibrahim remains in pre-trial detention following his arrest on 11 June 2019 and enforced disappearance for 167 days.
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Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawi Office of the Public Prosecutor
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2577 4716
E-mail: [email protected]
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]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Amid rising fears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Egypt’s overcrowded prisons, the Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ibrahim Ezz el-Din, particularly as he suffers from chronic allergies that cause respiratory difficulties. This condition puts him at particular risk to the virus according to the World Health Organization’s list of vulnerable groups. He should not be in detention in the first place. The well-documented concerns over overcrowded, unhygienic and unsanitary detention conditions in Egyptian prisons aggravate risks of the spread of COVID-19 infections.
On 20 February 2020, Ibrahim’s lawyer submitted a request to the Supreme State Security Prosecution for Ibrahim, who had attempted suicide, to receive adequate psychiatric help from experts outside the prison with costs covered by his family. The authorities denied the request. On 26 February, Ibrahim attempted suicide again.
According to medical professionals familiar with Ibrahim’s case, the systematic torture he endured while forcibly disappeared, in addition to systematic medical neglect by the Tora prison authorities, might have triggered his depression.
Ibrahim also suffers from an inflammation in his lumbar vertebrae, chronic allergies, and a fungal infection of the tongue developed due to poor conditions of detention. Ibrahim refuses to go to the prison hospital fearing infection after he heard that other prisoners have reportedly contracted hepatitis C while being treated there.
I urge you to release Ibrahim Ezz El-Din immediately and unconditionally given that his detention relates solely to his peaceful human rights work. As his health problems put him at increased risk from COVID-19, I call on you to ensure that, pending his release, he has access to adequate health care, including psychiatric services if needed. I also urge you to promptly undertake an effective investigation into his enforced disappearance and the alleged torture to which he has been subjected and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible in fair trials.