Letter on the continued detention of Mahienour El-Massry
In a letter to the Egyptian authorities Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the continued detention of Egyptian human rights Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry. We also expressed our concern about El-Massry’s safety and well-being amid fears of a possible outbreak of COVID-19 in Egyptian prisons.
Mahienour El-Massry is a prominent human rights lawyer known for her work to promote judicial independence and prisoners’ rights. Mahienour El-Massry is featured in the #FreeTheLawyers campaign of Lawyers for Lawyers.
On 22 September 2019, Mahienour El-Massry was arrested by security forces in Cairo. Her arrest seems to be connnected to her legitimate activities as a lawyer and the representation of detainees that were arrested during demonstrations demanding the resignation of the Egyptian president Abdelfattah Al-Sisi. On 23 September 2019, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered 15 days of preventive detention for Mahienour El-Massry. She is facing charges of “joining an illegal group”, “publishing false news”, and “misuse of social media”.
According to our information, the detention of Ms El-Massry has been extended for another 45 days on 5 May 2020. The renewal of El-Massry’s preventive detention was held in absentia, without El-Massry and her lawyer being present.
Moreover, Lawyers for Lawyers has grave concerns about El-Massry’s safety and well-being amid fears of a possible outbreak of COVID-19 in Egyptian prisons. All prisons visits have been suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from 10 March 2020 onwards. It is thus very difficult for El-Massry’s family members to receive any updates about her well-being. It has been reported that the last information El-Massry’s relatives have received about El-Massry came from a former detainee who was released on 20 March 2020.
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