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Egypt places female political prisoner in cell with criminals, ENHR reports

Inmates are seen inside an Egyptian prison on 19 November 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Images]
Inmates are seen inside an Egyptian prison on 19 November 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Images]

The Egyptian Network for Human Rights has documented details of the arrest and violations against female political prisoner Tawqa Abdel Basser Abdullah.

Tawqa, 24, was arrested inside Helwan metro station on 9 June 2019 and then forcibly disappeared for 17 days.

A student at Cairo University, Tawqa was seen at the Supreme State Security Prosecution on 26 June 2019 and charged with being part of the "Coalition of Hope".

The Coalition of Hope was a political alliance formed of former parliamentarians, journalists, business people and youth leaders who wanted to run in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

Several figures who were part of the coalition including Ziad Al-Alamy and Ramy Shaath have been arrested and imprisoned.

Tawqa was imprisoned for 15 days pending investigation and deported to Qanater women's prison and put on the criminal wing, rather than alongside other political prisoners.

READ: Egypt renews detention of businessman in funding antiquities excavation case

On 20 July 2019 Tawqa started a hunger strike to protest the conditions of her detention, which included being kept in an overcrowded cell in which the other detainees were smoking.

She was later investigated for forming a terror cell inside Qanater prison, communicating with group leaders outside the prison, and attracting new members to promote the group's ideas.

Tawqa's lawyer Ahmed Helmy asked the prosecution to provide details on the meetings, for example, what time they were held, the names of the leaders who had been contacted outside the prison, and for the report, writer to appear and give evidence.

However, his requests were denied and Tawqa was investigated for five months on these charges.

Helmy himself was summoned and accused of insulting the judiciary after he submitted a memorandum to the Supreme State Security Prosecution detailing violations against his client.

On 7 February 2021, the Consultation Chamber of the Criminal Court issued a decision to release Tawqa but instead new charges were brought against her.

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