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STOCKHOLM - Skyline calls upon the Egyptian authorities to halt "political retaliation" against detained activists and opponents by issuing prison sentences without fair trials and exceeding the period of pretrial detention stipulated by law. It further stresses that their continued detention violates the Egyptian constitution and the rules of international law alike.

Tuesday, Skyline states that it views with great concern the continued issuance of prison sentences against activists and political opponents. In this regard, 20 December 2021, Writer and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison, while lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer and blogger Mohamed “Oxygen” Ibrahim were sentenced to four years each

The trial, in which all three faced charges of publishing false news, took place in an emergency state security misdemeanors court, and cannot be appealed through the courts. The sentences were handed down after just three trial sessions and came despite defense lawyers not having access to the case files or an opportunity to present a defense. This violates of the provisions of the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedure.

Accordingly, Skyline highlights that the Egyptian authorities had previously sentenced Abdel-Fattah to 5 years in prison on the ground of a case known as the “Shura Council case”, then they re-arrested him in September 2019. These authorities also arrested the lawyer, “Mohamed Al-Baqer” while attending the investigations with Alaa, and he was included in the same case (1356 of 2019) to continue their pretrial detention for more than two years.

Dr. Laila Soueif, a lecturer at Cairo University, and the mother of the detained activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, said in an article in the American newspaper "The New York Times" last Friday, that "her son is being held accountable for being one of the youths of the Egyptian revolution in 2011." She added, "My son is one of tens of thousands of political prisoners in Egypt. He has been in prison for more than seven years - through various governments - with little hope of getting him out. His crime is that - like millions of young people in Egypt and abroad - he believed that another reatlty is possible to happen and he dares to make change."

For its part, Skyline stresses that what happened with the activist "Alaa Abdel-Fattah", the human rights lawyer "Mohamed Al-Baqer" and the activist "Mohamed Ibrahim" 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.

Skyline concludes its statement by calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the activists and the Egyptian lawyer, stop all violations of their basic rights, and work to enable individuals to live without threat or prosecution. It further stresses the it is important that international bodies led by the United Nations and the European Parliament take action in order to pressure the Egyptian authorities to stop their retaliatory practices and put an end to the continued detention of opponents and political and human rights activists.