Letter on the arrest and continued detention of Haitham Mohamadein
In a letter to the Egyptian authorities Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the arrest and continued detention of Egyptian human rights lawyer and labor rights defender Haitham Mohamadein.
Through his affiliation with the El Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence Haitham Mohamadein provided pro bono legal assistance to victims of human rights violations.
Reportedly, on 15 May 2018 Mr. Haitham Mohamadein was arrested in El Saf city in Giza Governorate. After his arrest, he was detained in an unknown location. On 19 May 2018 the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) in Cairo ordered a detention of 15 days pending an investigation on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization” and “calling for illegal protests”. According to our information, Haitham Mohamadein did not take part in protests and is merely active in offering pro-bono legal advice to workers. A court ordered his release in October 2018.
Mr. Mohamadein was again arrested on 12 May 2019 at the police station while serving probationary measures related to his release in October 2018. He was missing for a few days before he finally surfaced on 16 May 2019. He then appeared before the SSSP as a defendant in case No. 741/2019. The SSSP accused him of “collaborating with a terrorist organization”. After a court decision on 8 March 2021 to release Mr. Mohamadein on probation, the SSSP on 10 March 2021 re-accused him of the same charges, but in a new case, No. 1956/2019. The court’s release order was not enforced and to date Mr. Mohamadein remains in pre-trial detention. It has been reported that Mr. Mohamadein has not been able to receive any in-person prison visits and has had his pretrial detention renewed without having been brought before a court and without his lawyers having been granted the right to present a defense.
Mr Mohamadein’s case seems to be an example of the concerning practice of “rotation”. Rotation refers to the practice of bringing an entirely new cases against a defendant who was ordered to be released, reached their maximum detention limit for a case or has served their sentence. Based on this new case, the detention period is brought back down to zero, effectively making it possible to keep the defendant in pretrial detention indefinitely. We express serious concern about the extra-legal practice of rotation and the arrest of Mr. Mohamadein in this context.
Lawyers for Lawyers urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Haitham Mohamadein and put an end to all acts of harassment against him, including at the judicial level, take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Mr. Haitham Mohamadein, 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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