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For 10th time, Egypt renews pre-trial detention of rights lawyer 

Human rights lawyer Mohamed Al-Baqer, 5 February 2020 [Free Baker/Facebook]
Human rights lawyer Mohamed Al-Baqer, 5 February 2020 [Free Baker/Facebook]

Egypt’s State Security Prosecution has renewed the detention of human rights lawyer Mohamed Al-Baqer for the tenth time.

Al-Baqer, a prominent lawyer, disappeared on 29 September after attending an investigation into his client, Alaa Abdul Fattah, the prominent Egyptian blogger who was swept up as part of last year’s September protests.

Al-Baqer provides legal aid to political prisoners and is the director of the Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms.

Though pre-trial detention is supposed to only be used in emergencies, Egypt has adopted it as a punitive and retaliatory measure against perceived opponents. It’s indefinite nature and lack of clarity is a form of psychological torture for detainees.

READ: Egypt court refers 37 to grand mufti to approve executions

Last year, Egyptians took to the streets to protest against the regime after former army contractor and whistleblower Mohamed Ali revealed the extent of corruption in the government.

Some 4,000 people were arrested over the course of a few weeks including several high-profile lawyers.

At the beginning of January award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry spent her 34th birthday in prison after being arrested whilst attending investigations into her clients who were arrested during the September protests.

Lawyer Mohamed Younes was forcibly disappeared in September, then a month later lawyer Amr Iman was arrested from his home after announcing he would start a hunger strike in solidarity with Al-Baqer and Younes.

READ: Egyptian dies of torture in custody in Alexandria

The Egyptian regime has long imprisoned lawyers – director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim, has been detained since 4 September 2018.

Human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoneim was arrested on 1 November 2018.

Lawyer for Giulio Regeni’s family and co-founder of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared in Egypt Ibrahim Metwally has been detained since 10 September 2017.

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