Local human rights groups condemned the arrest of the head of the Freedoms Committee at the Doctors’ Syndicate, Taher Mokhtar, and demanded his release, in a joint-statement Sunday.
The signatories contended that the National Security Apparatus aims to “tighten its grip on freedom of expression as well as harass activists and human rights defenders”. Mokhtar, NGO worker Ahmed Hassan, and student Hossam Hamad were arrested from their respective houses in the area of Al-Falaki in downtown Cairo Thursday afternoon.
The NGOs reported that the detainees were interrogated in complete isolation and prohibited from speaking with their lawyers both during the interrogation and afterwards. The lawyer’s request to review the interrogation minutes was denied.
On Sunday, their detentions were renewed for 15 days by the Abdeen Court. They are accused of “possessing leaflets calling for the fall of the regime”.
Mokhtar is a prominent health activist concerned with health conditions in detention facilities and a member of the campaign titled “Medical Neglect in Places of Detention is a Crime”. He allegedly had copies campaign flyers and papers on his person when he was arrested.
The NGOs ended the joint statement by saying that recent arrests and prosecution of activists do “not leave much space for optimism”.