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Egypt: CFJ condemns sexual harassment of a female political detainee

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Press release

Geneva: February 26, 2023

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) condemns the sexual harassment of Egyptian political prisoner Aya Kamal El-Din Hussein by a female warden in Al-Qanater Women’s Prison, and the subsequent arbitrary measures against her by the Egyptian Prison Service. We call for an investigation into the incident, and hold those responsible accountable.

Harassment and arbitrary measures:

In her latest detention renewal session in February in the Badr Courts Complex, Hussein said she had been harassed by a female warden and then was punished by expulsion for informing the court about the incident.

Hussein is held in connection with Case No. 93 of 2023, Supreme State Security investigation.

Imprisoned Egyptian women are victims of double suffering. In addition to poor conditions of detention, women suffer from incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based violence, which increases the burden of imprisonment on them, and affects their mental and physical well-being.

Call for investigation:

CFJ calls on the Egyptian authorities to open a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the incident of sexual harassment of Aya Hussein, publish its results, and hold those responsible accountable. It also stressed on the need to reverse the arbitrary punitive measures

taken against her and to consider her medical release due to her deteriorating health. Hussein suffers from asthma, exacerbated by the poor conditions of detention.

CFJ also calls on UN mechanisms and the international human rights community to put pressure on the authorities in Egypt to stop the slow killing policy against political detainees and to investigate the incidents of gender-based violence against female detainees.

Ending the policy of recycling detention

CFJ also demanded Egypt to stop the systematic policy of repeatedly targeting activists by recycling their cases and constantly renewing their detention. We also call on authorities to put an end to the electronic rather than physical hearings at courts or prosecutions, since it violates the right to a fair trial.

Three detentions:

It is noteworthy that this is the third time that Aya Hussein has been detained. She was arrested for the first time from the street on December 31, 2013, when she was only 17 years old. She was subsequently sentenced to 11 years in prison, but the Court of Appeal reduced her sentence by one year, with a suspended sentence, and then she was released in December 2013.

Then she was arrested for the second time, following her statements in a video interview that was published on March 25, 2020. She was forcibly disappeared for five days after her detention. On April 1, 2020, she was brought before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which charged her with joining a banned terrorist group and spreading false news, pending Case No. 558 of 2020, then she was released on December 18, 2020 with probationary measures.

Finally, she was arrested for the third time from her home on July 3, 2022, and remains in custody pending case No. 93 of 2022.

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