Lawyer Mokhtar Mounir challenged the court order renewing the detention of detainee Mahmoud Hussein, also known as the “anti-torture T-shirt prisoner”, who has completed 585 days behind bars without trial.
A Cairo Criminal Court rejected Tuesday the demand for Hussein’s release.
Mounir, of the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), filed an appeal against the latest decision renewing Hussein’s detention for a further 45 days, on 27 August, during a ‘sudden’ court session.
Hussein was arrested on 25 January 2014, as protests erupted across the country on the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. Young protesters and political groups, such as April 6 Youth Movement, demonstrated to demand “the unachieved goals of 25 January [Revolution]”.
Hussein’s brother, Tarek, has described his younger brother’s detention as an “arbitrary measure of an unofficially declared emergency state”, and asked “until when is he going to remain in prison?”
“Hussein is banned from attending most of his sessions, while he is transferred to court on some occasions, we do not know on which basis this or that happens,” Tarek told Daily News Egypt Tuesday. He added that ‘temporary or pre-trial detention’ has become a penalty in itself.
In a previous interview on pre-trial detention, Tarek had slammed security and investigations authorities, on the grounds that Hussein’s case includes only one other defendant. He also said that “580+ days was a lot of time to prepare evidence and refer the case to court”.
Hussein is facing a list of charges that start with breaking the Protest Law, and include affiliations with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, which has also been designated a terrorist organisation. But according to Tarek, who faced similar accusations himself, Hussein participated in 30 June protests against Mohamed Morsi, and had been part of a campaign against the constitution Morsi wanted to pass.
Hussein’s detention has been automatically renewed several times, or sessions postponed, due to the failure of prison authorities and the Ministry of Interior to bring him to court on time, claiming security reasons. This has happened on at least 22 separate sessions.