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Egypt: Calls to release human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer after 3 years in prison

A picture taken on January 16, 2022 shows the Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre in Badr city, Egypt [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
A picture taken on January 16, 2022 shows the Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre in Badr city, Egypt [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

The World Organisation against Torture is calling on the Egyptian government to release human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer after he spent three years in prison.

Mohamed is one of over 80 lawyers now in prison in Egypt as part of a widespread crackdown on human rights defenders.

Founder of Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms, Mohamed, was arrested in September 2019 at the Supreme State Security Prosecution, where he had gone to offer support to his friend Alaa Abdelfattah.

But whilst he was there, Mohamed was informed that he was being investigated on the same case as Alaa, for spreading false news and misusing social media, but also joining and funding a terror organisation.

Following the 2011 uprising in Egypt, Mohamed offered legal aid to civilians being tried in military courts and spoke out about human rights in the criminal justice system and victims of torture.

Mohamed's name has now been added to Egypt's so-called terror list and, if he is released, he will be banned from travelling and possibly disbarred.

READ: Cop Civic Space calls on Egypt to release political prisoners

Egypt's State Security Prosecution has renewed his detention many times leaving him on remand for more than the two-year limit that is stipulated in Egyptian law.

At the time of Mohamed's arrest Egyptians had taken to the streets to protest the regime after whistleblower Mohamed Ali revealed the extent of corruption in the government.

Some 4,000 people were arrested over the course of a few weeks including several high-profile lawyers.

Award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry was arrested whilst attending investigations into her clients detained during the protests, though she has now been released.

Lawyer Mohamed Younes was forcibly disappeared in September 2019 followed by lawyer Amr Iman one month after that.

Calls to release Mohamed El-Baqer come as human rights organisations raise the pressure on Egyptian authorities to release political prisoners and stop committing violations ahead of COP27 in November.

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