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Egypt: Preacher sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly joining Free Syrian Army

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Press release

By: Committee for Justice

Geneva: 9 June 2022

The Cairo Criminal Court has issued a sentence convicting the well-known Egyptian preacher, Mahmoud Shaaban, of “inciting violence against the state and joining a terrorist group.” The court sentenced him to 15 years in prison after a period of detention in which he was allegedly tortured and mistreated.

Egyptian authorities had accused Shaaban of “joining the Free Army” in Syria, which is labelled in Egypt as a “terrorist organization that uses violence to achieve its goals.”

Recycling cases

In September, authorities re-imprisoned Shaaban after he was acquitted and released in connection with cases in which he was also accused of joining a terrorist group and inciting violence.

In the same month, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to hold Shaaban in custody for 15 days pending investigation, adding him to a new case.

Shaaban was returned to prison about 4 days after his released, along with three members of the opposition Salafist Front,, namely Sheikh Saad Fayadh, Hisham Mashali and Ashraf Abdel Moneim, pending investigations into accusations related to incitement to violence.

Leaked message about violations

Shaaban had started a hunger strike in prison in January to demand his release.

He also leaked a message from his prison cell, in which he confirmed that he had been subjected to many violations since his arrest in 2019, including “physical and psychological abuse through beatings, throwing feces on his face, and cursing in the worst terms.”

In his letter, Shaaban disclosed shocking practices practiced against him by an officer named Issam Al-Alfi, and against other detainees, including his saying to one of the prisoners: “When you meet your God let him give me a phone call.”

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