Egypt rights defender held in solitary confinement
The head of an Egyptian rights group was held in solitary confinement and inhumane conditions for the three days following his arrest last week, his lawyers and the group's founder told Reuters on Monday.
Gasser Abdel Razak is one of three staff from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), arrested after senior diplomats visited EIPR for a human rights briefing on 3 November.
"Gasser is being deliberately singled out, even compared to other prisoners in the Liman Tora prison, for inhumane and degrading treatment that is meant to cause him harm and that is putting his health and safety at risk," Hossam Bahgat, the founder and chairman of EIPR, told Reuters.
Abdel Razek's head has been shaved, he received no warm clothing, and was given a metal bed with no mattress, Baghat added.
The conditions "violated" the constitution and an urgent request had been made to review them, said Negad El Borai, a defence lawyer.
The UN, Western diplomats and human rights activists have criticised the case. Antony Blinken, US President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, has expressed concern.
Egypt's foreign ministry responded on Saturday by saying it rejected "any attempt to influence the investigation being conducted by the Public Prosecution".
President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, who has crushed various forms of political and civil society dissent since taking power in 2013, denies there are political prisoners in the country.
On Monday, Egypt designated 28 people as "terrorists" including Alaa Abdel Fattah, a prominent pro-democracy activist, according to the official gazette.