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Egypt: Hisham Kassem suspends hunger strike, CFJ commends his decision and urges judicial neutrality

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News briefing

By: Committee for Justice

Geneva: September 13, 2023


Publisher, journalist, and former president of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, as well as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Free Current Coalition, Hisham Kassem, has announced the suspension of his hunger strike just days before a verdict is expected on his case.


Respecting the court and not influencing it:

Lawyer Nasser Amin said that after a visit to Kassem in his detention, he managed to persuade him to suspend his hunger strike, “so there’s no suspicion of influencing the court and out of respect for whatever decision that will be issued next Saturday.” Amin added that Kassem’s hunger strike, which began on August 23rd, was initially due to fabricated charges and arbitrary actions taken against him, which ended up with him being referred to court while in detention.


Verdict against Kassem on September 16th:

The First Circuit of the Economic Court/ Misdemeanors has set the case of the publisher and writer, Hisham Kassem, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Free Current Coalition, for a hearing on September 16th, while his detention continues. This is regarding case number 2021 for the year 2023. Kassem was interrogated at the Sayeda Zeinab Prosecutor’s Office on August 20th based on a complaint filed by Kamal Abu Aita, former minister of labor and a member of the committee responsible for recommending presidential pardons. Abu Aita accused Kassem of slander and defamation against him. After his initial release without bail, his lawyers were shocked by another complaint filed against him by officers in the Sayeda Zeinab police station, accusing him of defamation and assault against them. He was then detained for four days for investigation and sent for expedited trial.


Calls for the Egyptian judiciary to distance itself from politics:

The Committee for Justice values the decision of the former president of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, publisher, and Egyptian politician, Hisham Kassem, for suspending his hunger strike to avoid influencing the court’s decision. At the same time, it calls on the Egyptian judiciary to distance itself from the political disputes between the authorities and their opponents and to uphold fair trial standards when considering the case of Kassem.

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