Urgent Action Update: Journalist Complains of Abuse in Prison (Egypt: UA 175.19)

February 8, 2021

On 19 January 2021, arbitrarily detained journalist Solafa Magdy told a judge that she has been subjected to physical violence and other abuse inside prison on several occasions. When her family saw her last on 27 January 2021, she appeared frail and unable to walk unassisted, raising further concerns about her health and wellbeing.



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Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawi
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Due to postal restrictions caused by COVID-19, please only send physical mail to the Embassy
Fax: +202 2577 4716
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,

I am writing to you to raise serious concerns about alarming reports that arbitrarily detained journalist Solafa Magdy has been subjected to ill-treatment and possibly torture in al-Qanater Prison for women.

According to a complaint submitted by Solafa Magdy’s lawyers, and reviewed by Amnesty International, during the 19 January 2021 court hearing, Solafa Magdy told the judge that at 11pm on 29 November 2020, three prison guards blindfolded her and took her outside her ward to a separate room to be interrogated by a man who did not identify himself. He sought to coerce her into becoming an informant, threatening her with not seeing her seven-year-old son again and harming her detained husband, journalist Hossam el-Sayed. Solafa Magdy also complained that her interrogator harassed her, without elaborating further. Amnesty International believes these acts may amount to torture. Solafa Magdy also recounted to the judge that prior to the hearing, she was strip searched in a violent manner by a female prison guard and forcibly dragged by a lower-ranking policeman from the prison to the vehicle used to transport prisoners to courts. Solafa Magdy also told the court that she was subjected to a forced pelvic examination on 30 August 2020, which led to heavy bleeding, particularly as she had previously undergone a uterine tumor removal operation.

Concerns about Solafa Magdy’s health and wellbeing were heightened following her mother’s visit to prison on 27 January, when she appeared frail and unable to walk unsupported. Solafa Magdy has been arbitrarily detained since 26 November 2019, along with her husband Hossam el-Sayed, and journalist Mohamed Salah. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for carrying out their media work and for defending victims.

I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Solafa Magdy, Hossam el-Sayed and Mohamed Salah and to open a prompt, independent, impartial, and effective investigation into Solafa Magdy’s complaints of ill-treatment. Pending her release, she must be granted regular access to adequate health care, including transfer to outside facilities for treatment unavailable inside prison.

Yours sincerely,