Letter on the continued detention and the precarious health of Hoda Abdelmoneim
In a letter to the Egyptian authorities Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the continued detention and the precarious health of 63-year-old human rights lawyer Mrs. Hoda Abdelmoneim. Mrs Abdelmoneim has been arbitrarily detained for over two years.
Prior to her arrest, Mrs. Abdelmoneim was a human rights defender and a respected member of the legal community in Egypt, working on cases before the Egyptian court of Cassation and Supreme Constitutional Court. She is a former member of the National Council for Human Rights and took on sensitive human rights cases, such as providing legal advice to the families of victims of enforced disappearances. According to our information, Mrs. Abdelmoneim was arrested on 1 November 2018 on charges of “joining and funding a terrorist organization” and “incitement to harm national economy” and has been held at the al-Qanater Prison for women since on pre-trial detention in case No. 1552/2018. This pre-trial detention has continued for over 2,5 years and violates article 143 of Criminal Procedural Law of Egypt, which states that pre-trial detention should not exceed two years.
Besides Mrs. Abdelmoneim’s continued unlawful pre-trial detention, Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern about the charges against Mrs. Abdelmoneim. Mrs. Abdelmoneim’s case seems to be an example of the abusive use of “terrorism-related” charges against human rights defenders and lawyers. It has been reported3 that the Egyptian authorities have abused the vague terminology used in laws such as the Anti-Terrorism Law to silence independent voices and to prevent lawyers from taking on sensitive cases and critiquing the government. According to our information, the authorities have to date not presented an arrest warrant stating reasons for Mrs. Abdelmoneims arrest or evidence supporting the charges against her. This highlights the concern that Mrs. Abdelmoneim has been arrested under unfounded charges in relation to her human rights work in an attempt to silence her.
Reportedly, on 30 November 2020, Mrs Abdelmoneim was transferred to an external hospital for medical treatment. Mrs. Abdelmoneim’s relatives have to date been denied access to her medical records, but sources from inside the prison informed her family that she was suffering from kidney failure amongst other health concerns. It has been reported that Mrs. Abdelmoneim is kept in difficult conditions with insufficient access to medical care, even though she suffers from several health conditions that require regular medication. Despite her lawyer’s numerous complaints to the Public Prosecutor and the judge about her physical condition, Mrs. Abdelmoneim continues to be held in these conditions. Additionally, Mrs. Abdelmoneim is exposed to an increased risk of a potential infection with COVID-19, which could have severe consequences to her health due to her medical condition and her age.
Lawyers for Lawyers urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mrs. Hoda Abdelmoneim and put an end to all acts of harassment against her, including at the judicial level, immediately provide Mrs. Hoda Abdelmoneim with the medical care she needs and take all necessary measures to protect her from conditions that could negatively impact her physical and psychological health, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and guarantee in all circumstances that all (human rights) lawyers in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
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