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Egypt: Wife of detained and tortured human rights lawyer arrested

April 17, 2023 at 11:38 am

Mohamed El-Baqer’s wife, Neama [ganobi/Twitter]

Egypt has detained the wife of imprisoned human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer after she reported that he had been beaten up, gagged, stripped of his clothes and left to sleep on a cold cell floor.

In a post published online, El-Baqer’s wife, Neama, revealed harrowing details of his detention after she visited him in Badr 1 prison.

Prison authorities attacked El-Baqer after he and a cell mate intervened after they tried to force another cell mate to attend his detention renewal after he learnt his wife had died.

El-Baqer’s ribs, wrist and mouth were injured, according to the post, and he was then transferred to solitary confinement.

Mohamed El-Baqer is a human rights lawyer and founder and director of the Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms.

Known for providing legal assistance to people prosecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression, after the 2011 uprising, El-Baqer offered legal aid to civilians being tried in military courts.

WATCH: Egyptian rights groups brand Badr prison ‘a slaughterhouse’

He was the lawyer of prominent activist and 2011 revolution icon Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was arrested on 29 September 2019 whilst on probation.

El-Baqer was arrested whilst attending Alaa’s interrogation and was detained on the same charges: spreading false news, misusing social media and joining a terror organisation.

Both Alaa and El-Baqer have also been added to one of the country’s infamous terror lists and have been barred from travelling, had their assets frozen and El-Baqer faces being disbarred as a lawyer.

His pretrial detention has been renewed many times.

As world leaders gathered for the COP27 climate change conference last year in Sharm El-Sheikh, there were hopes that Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed El-Baqer would be released.

But instead, Egyptian security forces arrested two lawyers, Ahmad Natheer and Ahmad Ghurab, from their homes in Cairo and Giza.

Since 2014 Egyptian security forces have had greater influence and control over the lawyers’ union and lawyers have less immunity.

Authorities have restricted the independence of the judiciary and made it difficult for lawyers to defend their clients, for example not allowing them to attend interrogations.

Lawyers are regularly prevented from entering court and have been threatened with detention if they don’t stop representing certain clients.

In 2021, 80 human rights lawyers were in prison.