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STOCKHOLM – Skyline calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release the Egyptian journalist "Hisham Abdel Aziz" and three other journalists, on baseless allegations, despite exceeding the legal period of pretrial detention stated in the Egyptian law for 45 days. It stresses that their continued detention unjustifiably violates the Egyptian constitution and international law.

Tuesday, Skyline states that the health condition of Abdelaziz deteriorated after he had glaucoma in his eyes, for which he needed urgent surgery to prevent the loss of eyesight completely, and contracted otosclerosis, which may affect his hearing ability.

"Skyline" indicates that, on November, 28 2021, the Egyptian authorities extended the detention of "Hisham Abdel Aziz" and three other journalists for a period of 45 days pending investigations in a number of cases without bringing them to trial, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Egyptian authorities had detained "Hisham" and his family as soon as they arrived at Cairo Airport while they were on vacation in Egypt on June 20, 2019. Then, Hisham was apprehended by an immigration officer at Cairo International Airport and taken to the National Security Office for interrogation, which lasted for five hours. His personal belongings were searched, including his phone, laptop, iPad and the passports and luggage of his family members. His passport was then confiscated, and he was told than he and his family could leave, but that he must return to collect his passport from the National Security Office.

According to his family's testimony, as soon as he arrived at his residence in Cairo, Hisham received a phone call from a national security officer. He was told to report immediately to the National Security Office, where he was told he would have his passport returned. Upon his arrival at the airport, security forces kidnapped him. His location was unknown to his family for the next three days. He spent three days without access to food or water and was denied use of the bathroom.

Skyline reported, according to the information confirmed by Hisham's family, that he was presented to the Supreme State Security Prosecution without the presence of a lawyer, which in turn brought a number of charges against him and forced him to sign them. He then disappeared for some time before he was found to be being held at Tora Prison, accused under case number 1365 – belonging to a prohibited group

He was held at Tora Prison until 5 December 2019, when a decision was made to release him on a 20,000 bail. But he was then taken to Hadaiq Al-Qubba police station and detained. Then, once again, Hisham went missing for a month before reappearing in Tora Prison on the basis of new allegations, with a new investigation opened under case number 1956 /2019.

For its part, Skyline stresses that what the journalist “Hisham Abdel Aziz” and three others expose to clearly violates the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution, especially Article 54. This Article affirms that “Personal freedom is a natural right, shall be protected and may not be infringed upon. Except for the case of being caught in flagrante delicto, it is not permissible to arrest, search, detain, or restrict the freedom of anyone in any way except by virtue of a reasoned judicial order that was required in the context of an investigation.” The same article also emphasizes that “Every person whose freedom is restricted shall be immediately notified of the reasons therefore; shall be informed of his/her rights in writing; shall be immediately enabled to contact his/her relatives and lawyer; and shall be brought before the investigation authority within twenty four (24) hours as of the time of restricting his/her freedom.

In the end, Skyline concludes its statement by calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Egyptian journalists, stop all violations of their basic rights, and work to enable individuals to live without threat or prosecution.