Egypt: Human rights defender Tarek Hussein freed from prison!
Photo: Tarek Hussein with his brother Mahmoud (Twitter @HMahmoudmohmed)
Human rights defender Tarek Hussein is free!
After being arbitrarily detained for 40 days, the former prisoner of conscience has now joined his family. The Egyptian police released Tarek Mohamed Ahmed Hussein on 27 July after arbitrarily detaining him since 17 June. That day, police officers arrested him from his home in Cairo. The police kept him in detention despite AlKhanka Prosecutor's order to release him on bail on 18 June. They claimed that Tarek Hussein has been sentenced in 16 different cases. During his detention, the police held him incommunicado for 12 days and abused him. Tarek Hussein could still potentially be imprisoned as the Prosecutor has not formally closed the investigation.
Tarek Hussein told Amnesty International that he was detained in poor condition. He said that he was forced to endure crowded cells, rotten food, unsanitary conditions, and bad ventilation for days. The police kept moving him between three prisons, three police stations, and nine courts across Egypt.
Tarek Hussein told Amnesty International that:
“Defending human rights is not a crime, expressing ourselves peacefully is not a crime. All these are our rights and not a gift from the government. Even if the government perceives defending human rights as a crime, we will keep on doing it. The real crimes are torture, enforced disappearances, and abusing political opponents. If the price for our struggle for human rights is prison, then it is but a small price for a free and strong Egypt.”
Tarek Hussein also extended his gratitude to all those who stood beside him. He said: “Thanks to all those who stood in solidarity with me while I was detained. With your solidarity, prisoners of conscience get stronger. Your activism is not less than the activism of human rights defenders.”
More about Tarek, his brother Mahmoud & their human rights work
Tarek Hussein is a human rights defender and lawyer who work at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). He is also a member of the Freedom for the Brave campaign, a civil society organization working to advance the rights of detainees. Tarek Hussein’s arrest came amidst of a renewed crackdown on human rights defenders after the Parliament voted to transfer the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, which triggered wide popular opposition. Tarek Hussein was the lawyer for several who were arrested in that crackdown. Amnesty International believes that Tarek Hussein was detained solely for his activities as a human rights defender and for exercising his right to freedom of expression.
Egyptian police has previously detained his brother Mahmoud Hussein, then 18 years old, for protesting while wearing a “Nation without Torture” T-shirt, and a scarf with a logo of the “25 January Revolution.” They detained Mahmoud Hussein for over two years without trial, until his release on 11 April 2016. During his detention, he reported that National Security officers had tortured him into making a filmed “confession” of a series of spurious criminal offences, including belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement, possessing explosives and taking part in an unauthorized protest.
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