UN urges Egypt to release daughter of Qatar-based cleric

UN urges Egypt to release imprisoned daughter of Qatar-based cleric
2 min read
03 July, 2018
The United Nations has called on Egyptian authorities to release the daughter of prominent Muslim scholar who has been held in solitary confinement for over one year.
Ola's arrest came less than a month into the Gulf crisis [HRW]

The United Nations has called on Egyptian authorities to release the daughter of prominent Muslim scholar who has been held in solitary confinement for over one year.

The spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights made the appeal on Tuesday in an online statement for the release of Ola al-Qaradawi and her husband.

"They have been arbitrarily detained in the country since they were arrested," Liz Throssell said.

"Qaradawi has been held in solitary confinement for one year in one of the worst prisons in Egypt and has been denied visits from her family and lawyers since her arrest,"

The UN spokeswoman accused Egyptian authorities of detaining the couple over "their family ties with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi".

Ola and her husband, Hosam Khalaf, were arrested in Egypt on 30 June 2017.

Their detention has been renewed every 45 days, without formal charges being pressed against them.

Ola, who is now on hunger strike, is Egypt's longest-standing female political prisoner in solitary confinement.

Sheikh Qaradawi broke his silence on Ola's imprisonment in an online statement on Monday, accusing Cairo of holding his daughter over a regional feud with Qatar.

"Why has this happened? Because she is my daughter and has Qatari nationality? This must be revenge against me and Qatar by attacking a weak point," the Doha-based cleric said.

On June 7, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism, and imposed punitive measures. Doha has denied the charges.

Ola's arrest came less than a month into the Gulf crisis.

The Saudi-led bloc also placed her influential father on a "terror list" and the Saudi-backed Muslim World League booted the cleric from the organisation.

Qaradawi has been considered the spiritual guide of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamist movement has been heavily suppressed since a military coup against Egypt's first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Egyptian authorities have killed and arrested thousands of the group's members, supporters and suspected sympathisers since the 2013 military overthrow of Morsi, led by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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