PEN is deeply concerned about the health condition of Ibrahim al-Husseini, an Egyptian writer who has been detained since his arrest on December 9, 2018. Al-Husseini was arrested at his home in Cairo by security agents and a number of his books and electronic devices were confiscated. According to his family, the arrest is related to his social media posts, in which he commented on events in Egypt and France. Al-Husseini requires regular medical care as he suffers from a number of serious health problems.

On January 5, 2019, al-Husseini’s pre-trial detention was renewed for another 15 days for allegedly inciting a demonstration. PEN believes that the charge against al-Husseini is politically motivated, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release, and for him to be provided with adequate medical care. PEN also calls on the Egyptian authorities to free all those held solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and association.

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Please send appeals:

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of al-Husseini and to drop all charges against him;
  • Expressing serious concern for al-Husseini’s health and well-being and ensuring that, pending his release, he is provided with adequate medical care, and he has full access to family visits and legal representation;
  • Urging them to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and association in Egypt is fully respected in law and practice in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party

Send appeals to the Egyptian authorities:

President
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,
Office of the President,
Al-Ittihadia Palace,
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt,
Fax: +202 2 391 1441
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Justice
Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rahim
Ministry of Justice,
Lazoghly Sq.,
Fax: +202 7958048
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Interior
Mahmoud Tawfiq,
Ministry of Interior,
New Cairo, Police Academy, Gate no. 2
Egypt
Fax: +202 27958103
Email: [email protected]scmi.gov.eg
Salutation: Dear Minister

We recommend you to send a copy of your appeals via the diplomatic representative of Egypt in your country. Contact details for embassies can be found here.

Please inform PEN of any action you take, and of any responses you receive.

Background

Ibrahim al-Husseini, 63, is a writer and activist. Known for his short stories, his latest collection, Leil, was published by the Supreme Council for Culture in Egypt. In his articles, al-Husseini criticizes both the dictatorships and religious extremism in Egypt. Al-Husseini has been defending social justice since the 1970s. Due to his peaceful activities and critical writing, he was previously subjected to arrests and detentions.

After his arrest in the early morning of December 9, 2018, al-Husseini was taken to the Shubra al-Kheima police station and transferred to an unknown location. He was held at different locations and reportedly interrogated for 18 hours and denied access to a lawyer and to his family. His family was allowed to deliver his medication only four days after his arrest. On December 23, 2018, the State Security Prosecution ordered an extension of al-Husseini’s pre-trial detention for 15 days on a charge of “inciting a demonstration,” which took effect on January 5, 2019.

Al-Husseini suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. On December 25, his health condition suddenly deteriorated. As he started to heavily bleed, he was transferred to a hospital the next day where he received an initial examination and was injected with saline. Whereas an endoscopy was required to find the cause of the bleeding, he was taken back to prison without a proper examination. His family, who was allowed less than ten minutes of visitation period, said that al-Husseini’s condition keeps getting worse. Nevertheless, al-Husseini is being kept in an extremely small cell with four other detainees. Lawyers are still being denied access to the investigation report.

Free expression in Egypt has been in sharp decline since the rise of President al-Sisi into power in 2014. Many journalists and writers have been arrested or forced to flee the country. PEN passed a resolution on Egypt at its 82nd World Congress and noted concern about the rise of the number of writers and journalists who have been detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, and for their journalistic, artistic, or human rights work (click here to read more about PEN’s work on Egypt).

For any further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: [email protected]