The prosecutor general’s office is abusing the power of detention by repeatedly remanding suspects into custody for unspecified amounts of time, in violation of the law, the Freedom for the Brave campaign charged in a statement issued Friday.
The campaign cited the case of university professor Sherif Farag, who has been held in detention for six months now without a trial date in sight. The statement called the case a “disgrace to Egypt’s judicial system.”
“Those remanded into custody stay in prison for unlimited periods reaching up to two years, pending investigations that never get done, on imaginary charges that they may be acquitted for,” the statement read.
The prosecution relies on National Security investigations that are tantamount to mere opinions, according to the Appeals Court, and cannot be used as evidence, the campaign continued.
Farag was arrested in November, 2013 from his Alexandria home at the recommendation of National Security, along with 11 other Alexandria University faculty members suspected of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood — which was banned and declared a terrorist organization in December — illegal assembly, unlawful violence, attempted murder and vandalism during protests against the brutal dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins in August that left at least 1,000 people dead.
Since their arrest, Farag and his co-defendants have repeatedly had their detention period renewed, without the case ever being referred to court.
The Freedom for the Brave campaign indicted the investigating authorities for ignoring several testimonies attesting to Farag’s innocence, as well as evidence that he couldn’t have participated in the protests in question, as several eyewitnesses attest to his presence at his engagement party on August 15, the statement said.
Furthermore, Farag was not apprehended at the scene of the alleged crime or in the midst of perpetrating unlawful acts, thus making it illegal to keep him in custody pending investigations, the statement claimed. Farag was arrested more than three months after the protests he is accused of participating in.
Addressing the issue of the mass number of detainees remanded into custody since former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, an Interior Ministry source denied that there were any suspects currently being held pending investigations in Egypt’s prisons, reported the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).
Mohamed Rateb, deputy interior minister for the Prisons Authority, said that anyone currently in prison is either being held during ongoing court cases, or have already been found guilty and sentenced to jail time.