Pictures circulated on social media show that Egyptian human-rights lawyer and recently-released detainee Amr Imam’s appearance changed markedly whilst he was detained.
Two photos of Imam show his condition before and after his arrest and reveal the impact that the Egyptian prison regime has on detainees.
On 16 July, Egyptian authorities released Imam and 5 other detainees, all of whom were being held in pretrial detention, immediately after a meeting between the US President and his Egyptian counterpart in Jeddah at which human rights issues were discussed.
Imam’s release comes approximately one thousand days after the beginning of his imprisonment, since his arrest in October 2019 in his home in south Cairo.
Imam is one of several lawyers in Egypt who has worked to keep the public informed about political detainees in the country regardless of their political affiliations.
Prior to his arrest, Imam announced he was beginning a partial hunger strike in protest against the arrest and torture of his friends, in particular, journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah, activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, and human-rights lawyer Muhammad al-Baq
Imam said at the time that if his demand that such abuses cease were not met, he would escalate to a full hunger strike combined with a sit-in at a key judicial building, with further escalations possible.
Egyptian authorities subjected Imam to a second investigation from August 2020 whilst he was being held in pre-trial detention. The major charge against him in the second case was the the Ministry of Interior’s claim, made without evidence, that Imam had communicated with alleged ‘terrorists’, even whilst he was held in solitary confinement.
On 24 April of this year, the release of a number of detained political activists, journalists, and human rights defenders was announced, though Imam was not included amongst them, for reasons unknown.