Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Defender’s Health at Risk (Egypt: UA 104.19)
November 20, 2020
On 31 October 2020, the pre-trial detention of human rights researcher Ibrahim Ezz el-Din was renewed for 45 days. His health has been deteriorating since his arrest on 11 June 2019 and his 167 days of enforced disappearance. Ibrahim’s poor health puts him at increased risk of the effects of COVID-19 that has reportedly been spreading in Egypt’s notoriously overcrowded and unhygienic prisons.
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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
I am writing to you to raise concern about the ongoing arbitrary detention of human rights researcher Ibrahim Ezz el-Din at the Tora Investigation Prison. Prior to his transfer to prison on 26 November 2019, he was forcibly disappeared for 167 days at undisclosed locations, where he said he was tortured. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his peaceful human rights work.
On 31 October 2020, the Cairo Criminal Court renewed Ibrahim’s detention for 45 days pending investigations into case No. 488/2019 over baseless charges of “contributing to the achievement of the objectives of a terrorist group” and the “publication of false information undermining national security”.
According to informed sources, Ibrahim suffers from an inflammation in his lumbar vertebra, chronic allergies, and a fungal infection of the tongue due to poor conditions of detention. In April 2020, Ibrahim was taken to the prison’s hospital, but the prison authorities did not share his medical record with his family, hindering their ability to consult a private doctor and prescribe him the appropriate dosage of medication. The prison hospital does not have X-ray equipment needed to diagnose Ibrahim’s back pain. Ibrahim’s poor health puts him at increased risk of the effects of a virus like COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization’s list of vulnerable groups, particularly as he suffers from chronic allergies that cause respiratory difficulties. According to medical professionals familiar with Ibrahim’s case, the torture he endured while forcibly disappeared, in addition to the denial of adequate medical care by the Tora Investigation Prison authorities, might have triggered his depression. Ibrahim attempted suicide twice in 2020.
I urge you to release Ibrahim Ezz El-Din immediately and unconditionally given that his detention stems solely from his peaceful human rights work. 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 open an investigation into his enforced disappearance and the torture to which he has been subjected and bring all those responsible to justice in fair trials.