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Family of acquitted Egyptian detainee call for his release 

Egyptian policemen at the entrance of a prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo, 27 May 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]
Egyptian policemen at the entrance of a prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo, 27 May 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

The family of a 31-year-old prisoner, Waheed Hassan, yesterday called on the Egyptian government to "release him and save his life."

Hassan's family told the media that he was sick as a result of "cancerous tumours that are spread in his body," stressing that he was in "dire need of treatment."

The prisoner was arrested by the local security forces on 29 December 2016 and was placed in the notorious high security Scorpion detention centre where he was reported to have developed a rare bone cancer. The prison administration has repeatedly denied him medical treatment.

On 9 March 2020, a military court acquitted Hassan in a case known in the media as "the assasination of the public prosecutor." But in April, his family said they had lost contact with him. He was later known to have been reconvicted in the case.

The family demanded Hassan's release, noting that he was held in "unjustified pre-trial detention for more than two years."

Under Egyptian law, a prisoner can only be held in pre-trial detention for two years and it is supposed to be used as a measure of last resort.

As a way of bypassing this, or an acquittal or court order for their release, the prosecution orders that detainees are rotated back into detention on similar charges like "joining a terrorist group."

The punitive measure is growing at an alarming rate. In 2021 1,456 detainees were rotated compared to 843 in 2020 and 306 in 2019.

Egypt: 1,700 prisoners 'rotated' in pretrial detention since December 2021

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