Cairo: 1 August 2021
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns, today, the crackdown and arbitrary measures experienced by its client blogger Mohamed Ibrahim, aka “Mohamed Oxygen”, in his jail at Tora High-Security Prison (2) leading him to a state of extreme despair that drives him to commit suicide within its walls, before saving his life at the last moments. Such a matter is highly expected to reoccur as long as he continues to suffer harassment and clampdown, in light of the Public Prosecution’s inaction to put an end to such grave violations.
Since February 2020, the authorities of Tora Maximum-Security (2) Prison have deprived the family of “Oxygen” to visit him, a matter which lasted for 15 month and continues to happen until now. Moreover, the prison administration refuses to let his family deposit a sum of money in his account in what is known as “canteen” (food portion/store), and at the same time they cannot get to know whether the food or personal stuff they bring for him (and are handed over to the security guards at the prison’s gate) are really delivered to him in his jail or not.
ANHRI said that the harsh treatment that its client and prisoner of conscience is subjected to in prison is considered an aberrant practice that deviates from justice, and that it hasn’t experienced before. ANHRI’s continued attempts haven’t yet succeeded in obtaining a permit from the Supreme State Security Prosecution to enable its lawyers to visit Oxygen; to determine the extent of his physical, mental and psychological well-being. This raises a bitter question: Do they want to ruin “Oxygen”, or drive him crazy, or push him to commit suicide by cutting off contact with his family and lawyers and make them unaware of the conditions of his imprisonment and his suffering?
Blogger Mohamed Oxygen, owner of “Oxygen Masr” blog, was arrested while he was at Al-Basateen Police Station to implement the precautionary measure pending Case 621 of 2018 State Security and was released thereafter. However, on 8 October 2019, the blogger appeared at the State Security Prosecution’s headquarters as a defendant who is accused of colluding with a terrorist group to achieve its goals and spreading false news and information in connection with Case No. 13 of 2019 State Security. He continued to be held on remand until the 3rd of November 2020, when Cairo Criminal Court, convened at the Police Cadets Institute in Tora Prison Complex, ordered his release with precautionary measures. The security services, however, didn’t implement the decision and held “Oxygen” in their custody until 10 November 2020, when his lawyers were surprised at their client being referred, for the third time, to the Supreme State Security Prosecution over the same charges “joining a terrorist group” in connection with Case No. 855 of 2020, whose proceedings took place while “Oxygen” was languishing behind bars in the high-security prison in the security services’ custody and with the knowledge of the Public Prosecution.
ANHRI calls on the Minister of Interior to hold the perpetrators of the violations committed against its client accountable for undermining the law and the constitution and to immediately enable his family to visit him in prison. It also urges the Public Prosecutor to release its client and shelve the accusations attributed to him since they deem fabricated and unsubstantiated, considering the fact that it is impossible for him to commit such crimes while he was under arrest and in the custody of the same security services. ANHRI, hence, holds the Public Prosecutor fully responsible for Mohamed Oxygen’s life.