An Egyptian court has renewed the detention of the head of the Strong Egypt Party, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, for allegedly broadcasting and publishing false news and statements.
Aboul Fotouh, who has also been accused of participating in a terror group, was not present during the trial, according to his lawyer Ahmed Abu Al-Ela Madi.
The court rejected his lawyer’s attempts to postpone the court session even though the law stipulates defendants must appear in person at their renewal sessions.
The politician has now spent three years and nine months in pretrial detention following his arrest in February 2018 ahead of the presidential election which took place the following month.
Under Egyptian law, people can only be held on remand for a maximum of two years however to keep them in prison Egyptian authorities regularly bring new charges against them as they near the end of their legal detention period.
Aboul Fotouh is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who ran for election as an independent candidate in the 2012 presidential elections.
He has had three heart attacks in prison, the latest in July when prison guards ignored his cries for help.
The court also renewed the detention of Ola Qaradawi, daughter of the Islamic scholar Yusuf Qaradawi, for 45 days in pretrial detention, on the same charges, of “publishing false news and statements.”
Madi, who is also Ola’s lawyer, was not allowed to meet her during her trial.
Ola has now been on pretrial detention for four years and four months after she was arrested with her husband in July 2017.
Ola has been detained in solitary confinement since her arrest and over the summer went on hunger strike as a last resort to protest against the conditions she was being held in and her unfair arrest.
The UN has reported that the conditions of Ola’s detention amount to torture.