The founder and former CEO of Egypt’s Juhayna Food Industries and his son have been released from prison yesterday, after spending about two years in detention, according to Reuters citing security and prison sources, as well as a family member.
Juhayna is the country’s largest dairy products and juice producer. In December 2020, Safwan Thabet, 75 was arrested, followed by his son Seif, 41 who took over as CEO, two months later on charges of “funding terrorism, undermining the national economy and joining an unlawful organisation.”
The pair were accused by authorities of belonging to and financing an unidentified terrorist group, widely presumed to be a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Thabet family have denied any wrongdoing and the two men were never convicted. After months of campaigning for their release, Safwan Thabet’s wife, Bashira Elshawi died in March 2022.
ربي لك الحمد والشكر حتى ترضى pic.twitter.com/q3uELDjd5q
— Mariam Safwan Thabet (@mariamthabet) January 21, 2023
Safwan Thabet’s daughter Mariam Thabet has since shared pictures on social media showing her reunited with her father and brother.
According to a report by Amnesty International in 2021, the Thabets were being held because of their refusal to cede assets to a state entity. The human rights organisation also claimed that father and son were being held in solitary confinement and faced conditions amounting to torture.
Although there hasn’t been an official statement from Egyptian authorities on the release, a prison source told Reuters that the case against them had not yet been closed. A member of the Thabet family also confirmed that the two men were freed from a police station and returned home.