Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power, the Egyptian regime has waged a campaign of repression against its critics, using tactics including enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, harsh sentencing, and medical neglect against them.
The family of Dr. Saad Emara, who was arrested on political grounds, now suffers from poor health due to his detention and has been denied visits from his family, according to a public letter published by them.
Emara has been detained since July 27, 2020, when he forcibly disappeared for approximately six weeks. At the time he was suffering from a prostate condition, though the authorities have denied him treatment, which has led to various complications.
In their urgent plea, the family has reported that: “During the enforced disappearance, he did not take any medication for his prostate condition, and as a result, he suffered great pain and the risk of blood poisoning”. Ultimately Emara required a prostatectomy, but the authorities refused it.
“He was transferred to a solitary confinement cell in Tora Prison and visits were prohibited for a year. He was then transferred to a regular cell in Abu Zaabal Prison and permitted visits.”
“After a court session in [the city of] Damietta, he was transferred to al-Aqrab prison, although his medicines, clothes, and other personal items remained in Abu Zaabal prison; soon after, we learned that he had been sent to yet another prison. Just two days ago, we learned that he is being held in Badr prison, and is again being denied visits.”
Emara’s four sons are also being detained, whilst his wife and daughter remain free: “Moadh will have spent seven years in detention this January, following a sentence of five years which after extended via new cases, the last of which was brought before the State Security Prosecution in September, at which he was sentenced 15 days. He is currently in al-Qanater Prison.”
“Suhaib was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus five years of supervision, in what is known as the ‘al-Fateh case’. He is currently held in the new Wadi al-Natrun prison, where he has spent nine years of his sentence.”
And, the message continued, “as for Osama and Ahmed, they were arrested with their father on July 27, 2020, and themselves forcibly disappeared for 10 weeks. They are also being held in al-Qanater Prison.”
Both Osama and Ahmed are graduates and journalists. At the time of their disappearance, Ahmed was working for Al Shorooq newspaper, while Osama was working for the Al-Hassad website.
The Egyptian authorities continue to detain 10s of 1000s of people following politically motivated arrests. Many of them were sentenced following unfair trials, or indeed are held without trial, often for years.
Conditions of detention in Egyptian prisons are infamously poor.