Lawyer: Rights lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim appears before State Security Prosecution
Ezzat Ghoneim - Courtesy: The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms' website

State Security Prosecution issued a 15-day detention order for rights lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim, pending further investigations into undisclosed charges, according to a lawyer familiar with the case.

Ghoneim’s whereabouts had been unknown since March 1, until news surfaced that the rights lawyer, who is executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, was interrogated at the State Security Prosecution in New Cairo early on Sunday morning.  

State Security Prosecution interrogated Ghoneim on Sunday, without a lawyer present, and issued his 15-day detention order, pending the continuation of further interrogations tomorrow, according to a lawyer who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity and cited unofficial sources.

The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms confirmed the news of Ghoneim’s appearance before State Security Prosecution in a Sunday afternoon Facebook post. According to the organization, lawyers waited for Ghoneim’s arrival outside the New Cairo State Security Prosecution office until 11 pm on Saturday evening, to no avail. The group added that the rights lawyer continues to be detained at an undisclosed location and that the charges leveled against him remain unknown.

Communication with Ghoneim was lost on March 1 and his wife reported his disappearance to the Interior Ministry and the Public Prosecutor’s office asking for his whereabouts.

In a Friday statement, Amnesty International demanded the release of the rights lawyer, who is involved in defending a number of political prisoners before both the military judiciary and the State Security Prosecution.

According to the international rights organization, Ghoneim’s disappearance constitutes an effort “to silence human rights defenders and members of the opposition” and “appears to be yet another shameless attack on the right to freedom of expression and association.”

Twenty-one local and international rights organizations held the Egyptian state responsible for Ghoneim’s well being in a Friday statement that demanded the lawyer’s immediate release.

The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms works on documenting rights violations in Egypt, according to its website.