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Amnesty International cautiously welcomes release of Egyptian human rights lawyer Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Amnesty International cautiously welcomes release of Egyptian human rights lawyer

Thousands of political prisoners remain behind bars in Egypt

Date of publication: 31 October, 2018

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Amnesty International has cautiously welcomed the release of Egyptian human rights lawyer Haytham Mohamdeen from detention.

Human rights group Amnesty International has welcomed the release of a leading Egyptian human rights lawyer this week, but said Cairo authorities should do more to free other political prisoners.

Amnesty International's North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim described Haytham Mohamdeen's release on Tuesday as a "small victory", but said that many more prisoners of conscious remain behind bars in Egypt.

"Amid the ongoing persecution of hundreds of peaceful activists across Egypt in recent years, Haytham Mohamdeen's release is a small but welcome victory for human rights in the country and for all those who campaigned for his release. However, he should never have been detained in the first place," said Bounaim.

"The valuable work of lawyers such as Haytham Mohamdeen, who defend workers calling for better labour conditions, should be applauded by the Egyptian authorities, not punished with arbitrary detention."

Bounaim called on Cairo to take "urgent steps" to "immediately and unconditionally" release other peaceful protesters and campaigners.

Mohamdeen was arrested in May and held on charges of "unauthorised protests" and "membership in a terrorist group".

This referred peaceful demonstrations that took place in Egypt against the government's unpopular austerity measures, which he did not take part in himself.

Mohamdeen thanked Amnesty, after the group's months' long campaigning demanding the lawyer's release.

"I thank Amnesty International for all the solidarity and support for my case, I also thank the activists and human rights defenders that supported me. It had a huge impact in terms of enhancing my detention conditions and pushing towards my release."

Thousands of other political prisoners remain behind bars in Egypt.


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