Journalist Mohamed Salah has been arbitrarily detained for 27 months without trial solely for the peaceful exercise of his human rights. In a letter written from inside prison on January 31, 2022, he called on the authorities to end his pre-trial detention, which has exceeded the maximum limit of two years permissible under Egyptian law. He must be immediately and unconditionally released, and his claims of being tortured or otherwise ill-treated effectively investigated.
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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]
I am writing to raise concerns about the ongoing arbitrary detention of journalist Mohamed Salah
since November 26, 2019 without charge or trial, and to call for his immediate and unconditional release as he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his human rights. On July 19, 2020, a court ordered his release in relation to investigations into accusations of “joining a terrorist group” and “spreading false news” in Case No. 488/2019 connected to anti-government protests in March 2019. He was not released, and in August 2020 the Supreme Sate Security Prosecution (SSSP) ordered his detention pending investigations into unfounded terrorism accusations in a new case (Case No. 855/2020). He remains in pre-trial detention in violation of the Code of Criminal Procedures, which sets the maximum duration for pre-trial detention at two years for crimes punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment. He has not been charged, presented with evidence linking him to any crime, or allowed to challenge the lawfulness of his detention.
On January 30, a judge renewed Mohamed Salah’s pre-trial detention for another 45 days in his absence. In an open letter written the following day from Mazra’at Tora prison, where he has been held since September 2021, Mohamed Salah called on the authorities to refer him to trial, noting that his continued pre-trial detention was unlawful. On February 1, his lawyer filed a request to the Public Prosecutor calling for his release or referral to trial. The complaint was also shared with the National Council for Human Rights, the national human rights institution. On February 6, Mohamed Salah’s family joined the family of arbitrary detained human rights defender Ibrahim Ezz el-Din and the families of six other detainees in publicly calling for the releases of all pre-trial detainees held for over two years or their referral to trials.
On July 23, 2020, Mohamed Salah was transferred to Dar Essalam police station, where he remained held until his transfer to the Tora Investigations Prison on January 10, 2021. During this period, he reported being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment including beatings and denial of medical care, but no investigations were opened into his claims.
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Mohamed Salah as he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his human rights and to open prompt, independent, impartial, transparent, and effective investigations into allegations that he has been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in Dar Essalam police station with a view of bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice.