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The New Arab Staff

Mother of detained Egyptian activist dies after being turned back from prison visit

Hassan Mustafa was detained in December last year [Twitter]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2020

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The mother of imprisoned activist Hassan Mustafa reportedly passed out from exhaustion on her way back from trying to visit him in prison.
The mother of a detained Egyptian activist died last week after being turned back from visiting her son in prison.

Amira Mustafa lost consciousness while traveling on the metro from Cairo's notorious Tora prison, activist Loay El-Kahwaji said in a Facebook post on Monday. 

She was unable to see her son, activist Hassan Mustafa, as visits are currently barred due to the coronavirus pandemic, activist Khaled Ali wrote on Facebook.

"All she wanted was to see her son before she died," Ali added.

Mustafa was most recently arrested last year on charges of promoting a terrorist organisation, publishing false news and misusing social media - charges rejected by human rights campaigners.

The longtime activist has previously faced detention over his defence of protesters, and his campaiging against police brutality.

His detention came amid a renewed crackdown against journalists, civil society figures and activists last year. 

Mustafa has not yet been sentenced for any crime; rather, his detention is renewed every 15 days as part of a common but condemned practice by the Egyptian courts.

Dozens of people have joined calls for Mustafa to be released from prison in order to attend his mother's funeral.

Despite pressure from human rights groups, Cairo has not reduced prisoner numbers as a precaution against a potentially catastrophic outbreak of coronavirus in its cramped facilities. 

Egypt launched a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent after Sisi seized power in a 2013 military coup from Morsi, the country's first democratically-elected but divisive president.  

Sisi's regime has imposed tight control of the media and rolled back freedoms won in the 2011 revolution, jailing thousands of Islamists and secular, pro-democracy advocates.

Human rights groups criticised the Egyptian courts for violating basic due process guarantees, saying the inmates should not have even been arrested in the first place.

Many have been held for longer than the two-year limit on pre-trial detentions.


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