Urgent Action Update: Detained Rights Lawyer In Critical Health Condition (Egypt: UA 190.18)
December 4, 2020
On 30 November 2020, the family of 63-year-old human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoniem learned that she was hospitalized after suffering from suspected kidney failure and severe pain. Her relatives last saw her during a court hearing on 27 October 2020 but continue to be denied prison visits and access to her medical records, raising their anguish about her health and wellbeing. She has been held for more than two years without trial, exceeding the maximum limit for pre-trial detention permissible under Egyptian law.
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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
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
Human rights lawyer, Hoda Abdelmoinem, has been arbitrarily detained for over two years, solely in relation to her human rights work. On 27 October 2020, the Cairo Criminal Court renewed her detention for 45 days pending investigations into unfounded “terrorism” related charges. Hoda Abdelmoinem’s pre-trial detention has exceeded the limit of two years permissible under Egyptian law.
Officials at the al-Qanater Prison for women, where she is held, have denied Hoda Abdelmoinem a single prison visit or other contact with her family since her detention on 1 November 2018. On 30 November 2020, her relatives learned that she was transferred to an external hospital after suffering from severe pain. While her loved ones have been denied access to her medical records and therefore are kept in the dark about her exact medical condition, they were informed by other prisoners’ families that one of her kidneys had failed, while the other was functioning poorly. On 1 December 2020, the Ministry of Interior claimed in a Facebook post that she had received adequate medical care and that her condition was stable. Hoda Abdelmonein, who has high blood pressure, was hospitalized earlier this year after suffering a heart attack. The prison administration denied Hoda Abdelmonein’s lawyers verbal request to access her medical records.
Hoda’s daughter told Amnesty International that relatives called the prison administration three times following the resumption of prison visits, suspended between March and August 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and were given verbal authorization to visit on 12 September 2020. When they arrived at the scheduled time, they were told the visit was canceled. Her relatives last saw her during her court hearing on 27 October 2020. A judge at Cairo Criminal Court allowed them to speak to her face to face without bars for about two minutes for only the second time since her arrest.
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Hoda Abdelmoniem and drop all charges against her as her detention stems solely from her human rights work. Pending her release, I also call on you to ensure that Hoda Abdelmoniem is provided with the means to regularly communicate with her family and lawyers and has regular access to adequate health care and her medical records and for her family to be provided with detailed information about her health condition.