Fourteen political parties and rights organisations issued a statement on Sunday condemning the use of remand as a substitute for “arbitrary detention” in respond to legal difficulties in a case against young activists and a journalist.
The signing organisations included the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), Al-Dostour Party, the Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee, and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).
The statement said that violations of constitutional rights and freedoms have been increasing by the day as prisons “are crammed with prisoners of conscience on false charges”.
The statement highlighted the case known as the “25 January Youth Movement” case in which ten defendants were detained prior to the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.
The group, which included political activist Sherif Diab and journalist Mahmoud Al-Saqqa in addition to students and party members, is accused of forming an illegal political movement.
Diab, Al-Saqqa, and two others were released from prison in the past two weeks on separate occasions, pending investigations.
Al-Saqqa was allegedly tortured until he confessed to his crimes, according to ANHRI, and the location of his detention remained unknown for several days following his arrest.
The case was highlighted in the statement as it claims the alleged movement is imaginary and was fabricated by security agencies.
The statement stressed the defendants have been kept in detention without justification for remand and despite “charging them with a fabricated accusation and that the details of the case are full of violations”.
“There are reasons for pre-trial detention and the maximum detention period,” said the statement.
The statement continued: “A detainee has to be informed of the reason of his detention and be able to seek the assistance of a lawyer. These are all guarantees listed in the constitution and law that are persistently violated.”