The Egyptian prosecutor has successfully appealed a release order issued for Reem Desouky, Ola Qaradawi, Alaa Abdul Fattah and Mohamed Al-Baqer.
All four have been detained on spurious charges.
Reem is an American citizen who was arrested at Cairo airport last summer with her 13-year-old son and accused of running a Facebook page criticising the government.
Ola Qaradawi was detained along with her husband Hossam Khalaf in 2018. Ola has been held in solitary confinement since her arrest though she has been accused of “funding a terrorist group through her connections in the place of detention”.
The UN has reported that her conditions amount to torture.
Alaa Abdel Fattah was arrested as he was leaving a police station as part of the September crackdown on activists in which over 4,000 people were arrested in the space of several weeks. He has been beaten and robbed in prison.
Alaa’s lawyer Al-Baqer was arrested after defending him in the State Security Prosecution. Both have been accused of misuse of social media, belonging to an illegal terrorist organisation and spreading false information.
Human Rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned Egypt’s revolving door policy, under which they challenge release orders on members of the opposition and add them to new cases.
In the Mubarak-era also, police regularly ignored court decisions ordering prisoner releases by using emergency powers to detain people indefinitely and without trial.
Several members of the opposition, including Ola, have been released and re-detained before.
All four are on pretrial detention, which is only supposed to be used in emergencies. The Egyptian regime has adopted it as a punitive and retaliatory measure against perceived opponents.
Its indefinite nature and lack of clarity is a form of psychological torture for detainees.
At the beginning of February, Al-Baqer had his pre-trial detention renewed for the tenth time.