Amnesty International (AI) has alleged that the detained Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Gasser Abdel-Razek, has been subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment in prison.

The rights group said in a statement that it fears the veteran human rights defender is being deliberately held in poor conditions to punish him for his human rights work.

Abdel-Razek, the EIPR’s Criminal Justice Unit Director, Karim Ennarah, and the Administrative Director, Mohamed Basheer, were arrested after meeting with western diplomats on 3 November.

AI said since his transfer to Liman Tora Prison on 20 November, Abdel-Razek has been held in solitary confinement in a cold cell and denied warm clothing or a mattress.

‘All his personal belongings and money have been confiscated. The prison authorities have denied him any time outside his cell, including for exercise, and also prevented him from purchasing basic necessities from the prison canteen’, the rights group said.

‘The prison authorities have also shaved his head completely, an unusual step for pre-trial detainees, raising further concerns over discriminatory and punitive treatment’.

Amnesty has launched a new campaign calling on the Egyptian authorities to release the detained EIPR staff members.

‘The arrest of EIPR staff, following a meeting with diplomats, Gasser Abdel-Razek’s punitive treatment in detention and the designation of human rights defenders as “terrorists”, are the latest illustrations of how deep and catastrophic the crisis of human rights in Egypt has become’, AI’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Philip Luther, said.

‘Egyptian authorities regularly use unfounded “terrorism” charges to detain and defame human rights defenders in the eyes of the Egyptian public and international community.

‘The Egyptian authorities view legitimate human rights work like defending LGBTI rights, opposing the death penalty, defending religious minorities and promoting the right to health as terrorism’.

‘The international community must show to Egypt that they utterly reject the equation of defending human rights with terrorism and continue to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detained human rights defenders in Egypt’.

The AI official called on the international community to continue to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detained human rights defenders in the north African country.

There was no comment from the Egyptian authorities at the time of publishing this report.

Source: Amnesty International

Photo source: Amnesty International/EIPR

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