The United Nations (UN)’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) yesterday demanded an “immediate release” for the Egyptian prominent opposition figure, Salah Sultan, who has been held in jail for five years.
In an official order addressing the Egyptian authorities, WGAD called for “opening an investigation into Sultan’s detention circumstances.”
The UN working group’s fifth-degree arbitrary detention order described Sultan as a “prisoner of conscience.”
Sultan, along with his son Mohamed, were arrested in September 2013 at Egypt’s Cairo International Airport in the wake of the military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated first freely-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in June 2013. He was charged with “inciting violence” and “planning to cause chaos in Egypt.”
In May 2015, the Egyptian authorities released Mohamed after he had waived his Egyptian citizenship after two years of detention. He was reported to have gone on hunger strike for 263 days during his imprisonment, a strike which was described by local activists as the longest in Egyptian history.
Since incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power in 2014, the government has launched a crackdown against anti-regime opponents. Local and international rights groups continuously accuse the Egyptian authorities of carrying out forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions of thousands of dissidents. Egypt has consistently denied the accusations.