Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has renewed calls demanding that ousted president Mohamed Morsi and his aides receive a fair trial in accordance with international standards.
The Friday statement described the harsh treatment of 35 inmates including aides to the former president Ahmed Abdel Atty, Ayman Ali, Essam Al-Haddad, Assaad Al-Shikha and Mohamed Refa’a Al-Tahtawy, along with Morsi himself.
According to Amnesty International, all the inmates have been relegated to solitary confinement. Families of Al-Haddad and Ali said the men have not had access to their lawyers, and the Egyptian prosecution has referred them to trial without an investigation.
Security forces raided a number of cells in Tora Prison on 25 January, where many of the men are being held, confiscating belongings, writing materials, bedding and medication, according to the statement. Officials have also notified their families that they would not be allowed to visit until 1 March.
It has previously been reported that the move by security forces to raid cells was in retaliation to a number of bombings occurring across the Cairo metro area on 24 January which left seven people dead and scores more injured. Though Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attacks, many blamed the Muslim Brotherhood.
The 36 men are indicted for “spying for the ‘International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and its armed wing’ and Hamas from 2005 to 2013 by revealing classified information, as well as committing terrorist acts against the military and police to cause chaos, overthrow the state and seize power,” Amnesty International said. “The prosecution has also charged the men with helping armed groups to enter Egypt through tunnels from the Gaza Strip in order to attack the state.”
The statement also detailed the cases of Muslim Brotherhood members Abdel Meguid Mashali, Khaled Al-Qazzaz and Ayman Al-Serafy, who have been held since July without formal charges. The trio have been denied access to lawyers except to attend investigative meeting with Supreme State Security.
Amnesty International has called on Egyptian authorities to guarantee a fair trial that precludes the possibility of the death sentence, and to allow the detainees access to their lawyers, families and medical attention. The rights group also demands the immediate release of Mashali, Al-Qazzaz, and Al-Serafy unless they are “charged promptly with recognisably criminal offences” and guaranteed a trial in civilian courts.