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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
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 journalist Solafa Magdy and her deteriorating health. Amnesty International considers her to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for carrying out her media work and for defending victims of human rights violations. Solafa Magdy has been arbitrarily detained since 26 November 2019 as part of another case (No.488/2019), which relates to the March 2019 anti-government protests, along with her husband and freelance journalist Hossam el-Sayed and journalist Mohamed Salah.
On 30 August 2020, Solafa Magdy was brought in front of the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), a special branch of the Public Prosecution responsible for prosecuting crimes that relate to “state security”, to face questioning over investigations into a new case (No. 855/2020). She was accused of “joining a terrorist group”, “spreading and broadcasting false rumors” and “misuse of social media”. When asked about the charges, Solafa exercised her right to remain silent. In response to the prosecutor’s question on the reason for her silence, she noted that she saw no difference between this investigation and her initial investigation over similar accusations in relation to case No. 488/2019. After questioning her, the SSSP ordered her detention for 15 days, pending investigation. On 1 November 2020, the Cairo Criminal Court renewed her detention for 45 days in case No. 488/2019.
On 31 August 2020, Solafa’s mother was able to see her for 30 minutes in al-Qanater Prison for women. Amnesty International learned that Solafa was suffering from kidney pain and that she experienced breathing difficulties that required oxygen therapy at the prison hospital.
I ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Solafa Magdy, Hossam el-Sayed and Mohamed Salah. I call on you to also ensure that – pending their release – they are provided with means to regularly communicate with their families and lawyers and access to adequate health care. I finally urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for carrying out their media work and for peacefully expressing their opinions.