Press release


May 6, 1997

Update on the case of Dr. Ahmad al-Ahwany

Today, the State Security Prosecution Office renewed the preventive detention of Dr. Ahmad al-Ahwany for another 15 days.

Dr. al-Ahwany was arrested on April 24 and accused of preparing documents for distribution that would, if distributed, destabilize public order, or damage public interests.

The interrogations which took place today, were attended by several lawyers who represented different human rights organizations, the Engineers syndicate, and even political groups. The prosecution office did not carry out an interrogation but rather asked the lawyers for their requests, which were mainly the immediate release of Dr. al-Ahwany. At the end of 15 minutes of talks, the prosecution office ordered the renewal of Dr. al-Ahwany's detention for another 15 days.

Dr. al-Ahwany, a university professor and civil rights activist, is currently being held in Tora prison. No maltreatment has been reported and his family was able to visit him on April 29.

Dr. al-Ahwany accusation is based on Article 102 bis of the Penal Code which criminalizes the possession of documents that include sentences/phrases that might lead to a disturbance of public order, or damage public interests, and carries a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment.

It is worth noting that according to Egyptian legislation, the State Security Prosecution Office has the right to preventively detain any defendant for up to 45 days without appeal or court examination.

Action required:

Please write to the Egyptian authorities urging them to:

1. Immediately release Dr. al-Ahwany;

2. If Dr. al-Ahwany is prosecuted, ensure the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with national and international standards.

Addresses:

His Excellency President Hosni Mubarak
Abdeen Palace, Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telex: 93794 WAZRA UN

Dr. Hussein Kamel Baha'eddin
Minister of Education
Ibrahim Naguib St., Garden City
Fax: (202) 3562952

Ms. Naela Gabr
The Human Rights Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: (202) 5747839

Dr. Mufid Shehab
Chancellor of Cairo Univesity
Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
Fax: (202) 5688884


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