The Istiqlal Party has called upon the Egyptian government to release party head Magdy Hussien, arguing that he has “passed the legal period of the pre-trial detention”, and raised concerns over his health condition.
The spokesperson for the Islamist party said the judge on Hussien’s case promised to release the defendants, as there is no evidence. However, “the sessions have been postponed for a long time now, which proves that the case is political”.
Hussien’s family have visited him in Tora Prison, to which he was transferred after his health deteriorated in the Scorpion prison.
Naglaa Al-Qaluobi, the Party’s Assistant Deputy Head, said that the party has “been alerted to Hussien’s condition, as he has difficulty in breathing” amongst other health conditions.
She added that he is suffering from these conditions as he has been without any medical care in the Scorpion Prison for a month and a half. He was also barred from receiving medications for his heart condition, even after the lawyers delivered the medications to him in prison.
“He was then transferred to Tora Prison to receive health care, which lacks equipment to diagnose his status,” Al-Qaluobi added.
However, prison authorities denied in statements to local media that Hussien was not transferred to Tora Prison’s hospital, upon the deterioration of his health, and confirmed an improvement in his condition.
The party warned the government against his return to the Scorpion prison, calling for a swift investigation into the incident, and other cases which include other prisoners.
Last year, the Istiqlal Party withdrew from the pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance (ACA), saying that they joined the Alliance primarily because of the Muslim Brotherhood’s massive support base. However, they added that the Brotherhood has limited all revolutionary work and mobilisation until “the return of Morsi, and the restoration of their political status”.
“Unlike the Brotherhood, our party is concerned with other issues, like resisting the recognition of the Israeli state, American interests in Egypt,” the party said.
It also confirmed that the withdrawal aims to create a third path, separate from the dichotomy between “the coup government and the return of the Brotherhood to power”.
The party has been an important element in the Islamist pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance, acting as strong vocal opponent of the current government and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The party recently joined in calls by the Salafi Front to stage an “Islamic Uprising” to restore the “Islamic identity and Shari’a Law”.
Almost all Islamist parties, with the exception of the Al-Nour Party, came under the umbrella of the ACA to support ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Government authorities launched a crackdown on Islamist organisations following Morsi’s ouster in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) was ordered dissolved last year.
Other Islamist parties, including the Building and Development Party and Al-Nour Party, face trials at the initiative of independent lawyers, on charges of “involving religious rhetoric in their discourse”.
The majority of party members were part of the inactive Islamist Work Party, which was subject to regular crackdowns under both Hosni Mubarak and Anwar El-Sadat.