05/04/2020

Urgent Action Update: Loss of Contact with Detained Journalist (Egypt: UA 175.19)


On 12 April 2020, Al-Qanater prison authorities started allowing most inmates to receive clothes, food, sanitizers, letters and a hot meal from their relatives weekly, after suspending prison visits in March. However, arbitrarily detained journalist, Solafa Magdy, was not allowed to receive packages from her family until 29 April. Her family has still not received any calls or letters from her, raising fears about her safety amid a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in prison.

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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,

On 10 March 2020, the Egyptian authorities suspended all prison visits as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The authorities failed to introduce regular alternative means of communication between detainees and their families and lawyers, such as bi-monthly phones calls as prescribed by Egyptian law.

On 16 April 2020, Al-Qanater women’s prison authorities prevented Solafa Magdy’s mother from sending her money, food and sanitizers while most other inmates have been allowed to receive such items since 12 April. Some, but not all inmates, have been able to send and receive written correspondence.

Solafa’s family was concerned that she was facing disciplinary measures, as prison authorities prevent detainees held in disciplinary cells from receiving visits and packages from their families. On 29 April 2020, her family was finally allowed to send her food and cleaning products but remain concerned about her safety as they have received no letters from her.

Journalists Hossam el-Sayed and Mohamed Salah, detained at Tora Investigations prison, have been receiving essential items sent by their families weekly since 12 April. They were also able to receive – but not send – letters.

Amnesty International considers Solafa, Hossam and Mohamed prisoners of conscience, detained solely for carrying out their legitimate work as journalists and for defending victims of human rights violations.

I therefore ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Solafa, Hossam and Mohamed. I call on you to ensure that, pending their release, they are provided with means to regularly communicate with their families and lawyers. I finally urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for carrying out their journalistic work and for peacefully expressing their opinions and take measures to protect the health of all prisoners amid the pandemic.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

COVID-19 CRISIS: HELP NOW