Cairo: 18 October 2020
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that its human rights lawyer Amr Imam has started his second year of the remand detention (solitary confinement) for allegedly being accused in one of the many fabricated cases; Case No. 488 of 2019 State Security, in which he turned from a lawyer who plays his role in defending prisoners of conscience to a defendant, not for committing any crime, but rather for criticizing the National Security Apparatus and its officers starting a series of crackdown practiced against the lawyer.
Amr Imam started to draw the ire of the National Security Apparatus after he posted, on 16 October 2019, a comment on his Facebook page condemning the arrest and assault on journalist Israa Abdel-Fattah announcing his solidarity with her. Consequently, on the same day, he was arrested and turned from a lawyer to a prisoner of conscience without having any substantiated evidence or presumption as usual.
Throughout an entire year during which his detention renewal sessions were convened, Amr Imam was appearing before the State Security Prosecution and the criminal courts. He didn’t face any new charges in his case, rather, his remand detention was just ordered to be extended. He wasn’t interrogated except once on 17 October 2019. Then, in March 2020, all the detention renewal sessions of the human rights lawyer started to be conducted just on paper, i.e. in his absence and without hearing his defense.
ANHRI believes that the National Security Apparatus is not alone responsible for throwing the human rights lawyer in jail, but rather, the Public Prosecution is an accomplice in undermining his freedom and the freedom of hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners of conscience in Egypt.
The responsibility of the Public Prosecution, specifically the State Security Prosecution, for Imam’ incarceration is intensified by its deliberate participation in the so-called new severe violation “rotation” i.e. including him in a new case. On 26 August 2020, and before his release, Amr Imam was added to a new case (Case No. 855 of 2020 State Security) and was referred to the State Security Prosecution once again for investigation. The Prosecution alleged that during the same month the human rights lawyer communicated, from inside his solitary confinement in Tora prison (Agriculture Ward), with a number of terrorist elements assigning them outside the prison to carry out terrorist operations through the family visitation, which is banned upon a decision by the Minister of Interior as part of the precautionary measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Imam is also accused of supporting and financing those elements with the aim of committing terrorist crimes, and accordingly, the Prosecution decided to hold him in pretrial detention for 15 days which would start after the end of his detention pending the Case No. 488 of 2019 State Security, leading the human rights lawyer enter a vicious circle of violations committed against the law, the constitution and human rights.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called on the State Security Prosecution to release the human rights lawyer Amr Imam and drop all the charges attributed against him in the two fabricated cases, otherwise it will turn into a whip in the hands of the executive authority to flog those who infuriated or displeased it.
ANHRI also called on the Public Prosecutor to activate the provisions of the law in over-sighting the actions of the members of the Public Prosecution to ensure that they conduct fair and correct investigations in accordance to the law, otherwise the investigation sessions would turn into a narration of the biography of the arrested person and his family. ANHRI hence demands that the Public Prosecution doesn’t believe in the validity of the National Security investigative reports, which are considered by the Court of Cassation as merely unsubstantiated statements that cannot be the base over which one is sent to prison or held in pretrial detention.