The Arab Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to make a legislative amendment on pre-trial detention, determining its period and justified reasons on Sunday.
ANHRI issued a lengthy report on pre-trial detentions in Egypt over the past two years. It features journalists and students who have been detained without trial, such as photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) who has been detained for over a year now without a trial. Shawkan was arrested whilst he covered the security forces’ dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares sit-ins in August 2013.
The report also included cases of other journalists, such as Ahmed Gamal Ziada and Peter Greste, who have both now been released, as well as students Mohamed Al-Imam, Mohamed Abdel Wahed and high school student Mahmoud Hussein.
ANHRI mentioned in its report that “punishing thousands by open-ended detention becomes legalised”. It added: “The law gives the authorities the right to issue one of the following measures instead of pre-trial detention, such as obligating the defendant to remain at his house or inside the country, to appear before the police on certain dates, or banning the defendant from going to certain areas.”
According to ANHRI, most times these measures are not used by the general prosecution nor by the judges.
In response, the network concluded with a list of recommendations, calling on President Al-Sisi as the current legislator of the country in parliament’s absence, to facilitate the procedures by which the defendant who was acquitted could receive an appropriate compensation for his pre-trial detention.