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‘I use my pocket as a toilet,’ daughter of senior Brotherhood leader tells court

Aisha Al-Shater , daughter of the deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Khairat Al-Shater
Aisha Al-Shater , daughter of the deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Khairat Al-Shater

The detained daughter of deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat Al-Shater told an Egyptian court on Saturday that she is using her pocket as a toilet and has demanded authorities give her full access to amenities within the prison.

Aisha Al-Shater was arrested along with her husband, the former spokesperson for the ECFR, in November 2018 after security forces raided her apartment late at night. She was disappeared for 28 days before reappearing in Qanateer women’s prison, just north of Cairo.

That night a total of 19 human rights activists were arrested including 60-year-old human rights activist and lawyer Hoda Abdelmonem. Widely circulated photos of the raid depicted overturned cupboards and her personal items strewn across the floor.

Since then, Aisha and her husband have been accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation and funding terror groups. Since the Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terror organisation in Egypt in 2013, thousands of its members have been detained.

At the end of March Aisha’s detention was renewed for 45 days pending investigation.

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The cell in which Aisha is being held is two metres square with no windows, just a bucket in the corner. She has no access to a shower, a toilet, and she is not being provided with sanitary products.

In March, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights launched the campaign Periods in Prison to pressure prison authorities to provide incarcerated women with sanitary products, access to clean water and toilets to prevent the spread of disease.

Women in Egyptian prisons must buy products from the prison canteen, or receive them from visitors, however some do not have the funds to do so and others are prohibited from family visits.

Aisha has been banned from receiving visitors, which is against Egyptian law. She has not seen her three children for eight months.

Her father and former presidential hopeful Khairat Al-Shater has been detained since July 2013, not long after Mohammed Morsi was overthrown. Given that she was not outspoken during Sisi’s rule, observers believe Aisha has been arrested because of her father.

Arresting family members as a punitive measure against figures the Egyptian regime sees as a threat is not new.

Last year, Ola Al-Qaradawi, the daughter of the influential Islamic scholar and opponent of the Sisi regime Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, became part of a geopolitical conflict between Qatar, where Al-Qaradawi lives, and Egypt, which has cut diplomatic ties with the Gulf State.

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