Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s fate still 'unclear'

Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s fate still 'unclear', as two year detention order expires
2 min read
30 September, 2021
After two years in detention, Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah's fate remains unclear.
Alaa Abdel-Fattah is held in detention contrary to Egyptian code of criminal procedure [Getty]

Prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah's fate remains "unclear" after on Thursday he completed two years and one day in pre-trial detention - contrary to Egypt's code of criminal procedure, a member of his legal team has said.  

"We filed a complaint before the state prosecution, demanding the immediate release… of Abdel-Fattah and we are currently waiting for an official response," his lawyer Nabeh Elgnadi told The New Arab.

Abdel-Fattah has been held in solitary confinement and denied access to books or the jail yard to exercise, as his detention at the notorious maximum-security Tora Prison continues.

Most recently, his family members said they were worried about his safety after earlier this month the detainee suggested to a judge presiding his latest hearing that he might commit suicide unless his conditions are improved or he is transferred to another jail.

Abdel-Fattah was arrested on multiple occasions and was previously jailed for five years over arranging a protest without a permit.

The Egyptian regime has been accused by rights groups of overseeing the country's worst crackdown on human rights in decades.

Thousands of his critics are currently behind bars - some suffering medical negligence and left to die slowly behind bars, while dozens of others have been executed.

Legally, a person can be detained for up to a maximum of two years, pending trial, renewed every 45 days throughout this period.   

"The misuse of pre-trial detention as a punishment in itself is a heinous violation of human rights, circumventing the law, commonly used against activists and regime opponents," renowned Egyptian human rights defender Sherif Azer told The New Arab.

Meanwhile, a number of local and international rights groups called for the release of Abdel-Fattah.

A social media campaign has been launched by his family and online activists to mark the second anniversary of his detention and calling for his release, using the Arabic hashtag "inside prison, beyond the law".