Human Rights Watch has called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Hoda Abdel Hamid who was detained after filing a complaint about the torture and sexual assault of her detained son.
Abdelrahman Gamal Metwally Al-Showeikh, 29, has been held in Minya Maximum-Security Prison for 15 months.
Abdelrahman’s mother, father, and 18-year-old sister were arrested on 26 April after security forces raided their home in Cairo.
His father and sister were later released, however, Hoda remains in detention.
On 16 April Hoda posted a letter on her Facebook account which was given to her by her son detailing how a fellow prisoner aided by prison officers and guards tied him up, took off his clothes, and sexually assaulted him.
The post went viral.
The letter named the prisoner and four of the officers and called on his mother to report the incident to human rights organisations and the United Nations.
He said that the money his family deposited with the prison administration was stolen and that he planned to go on a hunger strike.
I was very hesitant to write about this to you because it will upset you. I am sorry but it is very difficult, and I had to tell you… I beg you to not stay silent.
After his mother’s Facebook post Abdelrahman was beaten up so badly by prison guards he was hospitalised more than once.
According to his younger brother who lives in Turkey, prisoners appeared in front of the prosecution to say that Abdelrahman was on medication for mental illness which his family refutes.
Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at HRW Joe Stork said that Egypt’s authorities are “persecuting the messenger” and that “arresting Abdelrahman Al-Showeikh’s family strongly underscores the abysmal state of Egypt’s so-called justice system.”
Abdelrahman has been sentenced to 32 years in prison on charges of protesting, joining a terror organisation, and torching police cars.