On the first anniversary of his death in his prison, activists and human rights activists recall an aspect of the violations that the young director Shady Habash was subjected to, including his exposure to pretrial detention, and his spending in it for a period of more than two years, which is the maximum for him according to the law, as they see that this played a greater role in his unfortunate end .
Habash, 24, died in Tora Prison, on May 1, 2020, after more than two years of pretrial detention for participating in producing a satirical political song.
During the past few days, human rights criticism of pretrial detention in Egypt increased, and its widespread use against political opponents, in a way that they see exceeding its legitimate goals, to its use as a punishment that is no less harsh than the sentences issued against those convicted of them.
According to human rights activists, the phenomenon of pretrial detention of opponents and opinion-holders, including activists, journalists, jurists, and university professors, has grown over the past years, just for expressing their views, to the point that it has become a punishment that can be resorted to without a court ruling.
The principle is that pretrial detention is a precautionary measure that is applied according to certain controls in the Criminal Procedure Law, but the current reality, according to human rights sources, shows that it deviates from the content and philosophy of these procedures, as it is applied at length in violation of the articles of the Constitution and the law. https://www.youtube.com/embed/NrHSe_w2b4U?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=ar&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
And last Wednesday, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information issued a report, in which it concluded that the prosecution uses preventive detention as a punishment, in victory for the desire of the security services, instead of being an exceptional measure that is resorted to when necessary, to make it a means of abuse of freedom of opinion and expression, and a punishment for concern for public affairs, And defend the
Days earlier, the Center for Development, Support and Information (DAM) – an Egyptian civil society organization – issued a position paper on the need to reconsider the articles of pretrial detention, indicating that it has recently been accompanied by a violation of the provisions of the constitution and of international
With the escalation of talk about prolonged pretrial detention against many of those who are subject to it, the same was imposed on the media outlets supporting the regime, and when Minister of Justice Omar Marwan was asked about it, he stressed that it is a legal procedure that has its justifications, and that it extends its reference to the circumstances of the investigation in each incident.
The human rights defender and journalist Haitham Abu Khalil confirms that the current regime has greatly expanded its use of “pretrial detention” as a tool to punish its opponents, pointing in this context to what the journalist close to the security services mentioned, the number of pretrial detainees has reached 30,000, most of them politicians.
Human rights organizations estimate the number of political prisoners in Egypt at about 60,000 prisoners, most of them are in pretrial detention, and most of them belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to opponents of the current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, from various currents and trends. 0px
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Abu Khalil believes that pretrial detention has changed its goal from preserving the crime scene and preserving evidence, to another form of punishment for accused persons in fictitious cases that do not have these motives, indicating that no officers accused of killing and torturing citizens have previously been subjected to this detention. Advertising
And he stresses that the Public Prosecution does not use preventive detention as a legal measure to achieve justice, but rather the implementation of prior instructions, and then he sees it in this way as a representative of the system and not the people, and it cannot be considered independent, but rather it is “one of the tools of the existing system to abuse political opponents.” .
He notes that since April 9, 2017, Egyptians have been dealing with the worst prosecution they have ever had, which is the Emergency State Security Prosecution, which is mostly based on former state security officers who joined the judiciary, as it integrates in its role with what State Security agents do in torture facilities. .
Among the most prominent of those who were subjected to pretrial detention as punishment: politicians, such as Abdel Moneim Abu Al-Fotouh, Masoum Marzouq, Ziad Al-Alimi, and university professors such as Hazem Hosni, Yahya Al-Qazzaz, Hassan Nafaa, Abdel Fattah Al-Banna, and also human rights defenders, such as Amr Imam, Muhammad Al-Baqer, and Mahienour Al-Masry, as well as media professionals. Like Mahmoud Hussein, Adel Sabry, Moataz and Danan, Slafa Majdi, and Hisham Abdel Aziz.
In the context, Mustafa Azab, the official in charge of the Egyptian file at the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain, points out that, in addition to the abuse of pretrial detention, the proposed legislation will open the door for extending its periods without being bound by previous articles that make the maximum limit of two years in case the penalty is life imprisonment or Execution.
And then he concludes in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that these legislations open the door wide to make the precautionary detention order, which if taken, is supposed to be temporary, not restricted by any maximum limits, to be a prior punishment before the judicial ruling is expected in the name of the law.
Azab stresses that this is completely inconsistent with the presumption of innocence, which is one of the principles of criminal trials, and requires that the accused enjoy it from the moment of his arrest, until the curtain comes down when a final judgment is issued and the criminal case is settled.
He argues that the passage of these amendments is totally inconsistent with all the developments that have taken place in the field of the established penalties, which have taken the process of greatly reducing the custodial penalties, in the case of trial and the accused’s entitlement to punishment.
In turn, human rights activist Ahmed Al-Attar says that the reality of what the Public Prosecution is doing now reveals a reversal in its role, as it is based on squandering the people’s rights and wasting their freedoms, which the Public Prosecution is primarily entrusted with preserving and protecting citizens from the oppression of the security services.
He added to Al-Jazeera Net that one of the most prominent rights wasted is the application of the rules and principles of pretrial detention, as this imprisonment has become a cruel punishment and a sword hanging over the necks of the detainees, through which their imprisonment extends for years without justification, to clearly demonstrate the deception and complicity of the Public Prosecution and its breach of its duties.
He points out that it is clearly monitored that prosecutors in most parts of Egypt expanded – in an unprecedented way even in the worst times and crises in previous eras – in exceeding the maximum limit for pretrial detention, and the Public Prosecution turned a blind eye to grave violations of the right of pretrial detainees.
In this context, he pointed out that the Public Prosecution office reissued decisions to detain and rotate detainees who were released, so that they would continue to be held in pretrial detention for up to 5 or 6 years, during which they would remain in pretrial detention, and hence the truth is that the Public Prosecution has become an integral part and participant in violations. Power towards opponents.