The transfer of prisoners to disciplinary confinement is a normal procedure in prisons and counts as an “administrative punishment” that occurs for various reasons, according to Laywer Ahmed Helmy.
Helmy, who defends Abdullah Al-Fakharany and Samhi Mostafa in the “Rabaa Operations Room”, said the confinement can occur if authorities find things in prisoners’ cells that are not approved of.
Al-Fakharany and Mostafa have reportedly been moved to disciplinary confinement, according to a press release on Thursday. This comes a few days following news of their “disappearance” from their cell in Tora Prison and their transfer to an unknown location had circulated in the media on 6 June.
Prison authorities have forbidden visits from families and lawyers for a month, based on leaked information to Rassd News Network.
Rassd deplored the “inhumane conditions” associated with solitary confinement that its board members have been subjected to, stating that “security forces continue to violate the rights of Rassd detainees”.
Al-Fakharany and Mostafa, board members of Rassd News Network, are currently serving their life sentence in prison. They were accused of spreading false news and “forming an operations room to direct the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government during the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal and to spread chaos in the country” in the trial widely known as the “Rabaa Operations Room” case.
Egyptian news site Rassd News Network (RNN) is a Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie partner. Since the military-led ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, RNN’s reputation has fallen alongside that of the group it gives a voice to, for being hostile to the post-30 June regime.
Helmy stated that they have filed an appeal request, which the Court of Cassation is currently looking into. He expects the date of the trial session to be decided in October.
A series of violations have taken place since their arrest on 25 August 2013. Al-Fakharany was arrested alongside Mostafa, Mohamed Soltan, and Mohamed Adly from Soltan’s house. However, the official arrest warrant was dated 28 August, and they were kept in custody until then without being referred to the prosecution.
During trial sessions, the defendants were frequently unable to hear the proceedings due to being held in a soundproof glass cage, a measure that was strongly criticised by their lawyer.
On the day of the verdict, the defendants were not as present as Judge Nagy Shehata announced the sentences.
In the case, 14 journalists and media workers were convicted, with 13 receiving life sentences, and one receiving the death penalty. Along with the two Rassd journalists, Mohamed Al-Adly, a presenter on the Islamist Amgad channel, and Egyptian-American activist Mohamed Soltan were convicted.
The Egyptian-American son of Brotherhood leader Salah Soltan was released on 30 May to return to the US after surrendering his Egyptian nationality, following the deportation law.