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DAWN calls for release of Anas Beltagy and end to collective punishment of the family

Anas El-Beltagy, son of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy in Egypt
Anas El-Beltagy, son of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy in Egypt

DAWN has called for the release of the son of a senior Muslim Brotherhood politician calling his imprisonment despite four acquittals, an "abuse of power and collective punishment of the Beltagy family."

Anas Beltagy was arrested on 31 December 2013 and taken to Nasr City police station where he was tortured. From here he was moved to Abu Zaabal Prison and held in solitary confinement and then moved on to Tora Prison, where he is incarcerated today.

At the time of his arrest Anas was preparing to take exams at Ain Shams University. He has since had six cases brought against him and been acquitted four times yet still hasn't been released, details DAWN's report.

One of the charges brought against Anas, which he was later acquitted of, is the "Marriott Terror Cell" case, a well-known case in 2014 which Al Jazeera journalists Peter Christie, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were accused of.

Defendants were accused of collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood and taking part in protests against the army.

Throughout the course of his eight-and-a-half-year detention Anas has been jailed in inhuman conditions, deprived of visits, from completing his university degree, and held in pretrial detention.

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He has been deprived of food and water, exercise, medical care, and guards have burned his clothes and blankets, according to his mother.

"This is a case of political persecution of a young man whose only crime appears to be belonging to a prominent political family," said DAWN's programme director John Hursh.

"The Egyptian government has cruelly punished Anas, stealing almost eight and a half years of his life, motivated only by political vengeance."

Critics believe Egyptian authorities are punishing Beltagy and his family because as secretary general his father was a senior leader within the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed Beltagi was arrested shortly after the Rabaa massacre and in 2018 was sentenced to death in a mass trial alongside 739 other people.

During the 2013 Rabaa protests Anas' sister Asma was on her way to help at the field hospital when she was shot by a sniper and later died from her wounds.

Their mother lives in exile in Turkey with their brother Khaled who was also arrested in 2015 before eventually being freed.

On December 24, 2013, Anas, and his mother Sanaa Abdel-Gawad were beaten on a visit to see Mohamed Beltagy, after they asked prison guards why they were torturing him physically and psychologically.

Anas and his mother were later accused of assaulting the prison guards and eventually released on bail. Anas was rearrested one week later.

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