Release Abu-Se’da Now
Day 5 Update
December 5, 1998
After more than four days in jail with no visitation, Government and prison officials allowed Hafez Abu-Se'da's wife to see him in prison today, but continue to deny his lawyers the right to meet with him or to see the files from his interrogation. The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid asked the main Administrative Court in Giza to allow Abu-Se’da to see his lawyers -- a right guaranteed by Egyptian law.
On Thursday, prison officials had refused to allow his wife to enter the prison.
After visiting him Saturday, Abu-Se’da’s wife Nehad Abul-Qumsan said his head had been shaved, and he has felt too sick to eat the bread and sweet sesame paste (halawa tahiniya) provided to prisoners. Abu-Se’da has been moved between several different prisons and cells during his five days in detention, and his location has not always been known.
Also, the state-owned daily Al-Ahram today reported that the State Security Court Prosecutor will interrogate Abu-Se'da again in a few days, and may shift the investigation to other personnel at the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. We have not been able to confirm this information.
Abu-Se’da, the head of EOHR, Egypt’s largest human rights organization, was arrested on Dec. 1 and placed in preventive detention for 15 days. Under Egyptian law, detainees can be held in jail for up to 45 days -- three consecutive 15-day terms -- before appearing before a judge.
He is accused of accepting money from the British Government to write a false report about torture in Sohag. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights stands by its report.
Allowing Abu-Se'da to see his wife and receive food is a positive step. But he should not be in prison at all.
Abu-Se’da is a prisoner of conscience who is being investigated and detained to intimidate all human rights workers and organizations in Egypt. The Government should release him immediately and should not interfere with human rights work in Egypt.
For further information contact:
The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid, Tel: 202-338-2908/202-338-8231;
The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession,
For Hafez Abu-Se'da's biography, protests from other human rights organizations, and daily updates, visit the website located at http://www.chrla.org/hafez.
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