Cairo: Call for the release of a detainee on hunger strike in protest against her pretrial detention with her husband for 4 years


The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties expresses its concern over the life of Ola Al-Qaradawi, who is detained in Egyptian prisons with her husband Hossam Khalaf after she launched an open hunger strike to protest against her detention for more than 4 years in pretrial detention in Egypt.
The Council urges the Egyptian authorities to release Al-Qaradawi and end her arbitrary detention, which is, reportedly, related to the policy of collective punishment and her relation to her father, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
According to what Aya Hossam Khalaf, the daughter of the detained couple, and the spokesperson for the “Freedom for Ola and Hossam” campaign, announced on Friday, July 16, 2021, her mother went on an open hunger strike, and she notified the court of this in the last renewal session of her pretrial detention last Sunday.
In a video clip broadcast on the campaign’s Facebook page, she indicated that her mother went on an open strike because of her continued detention for more than 4 years, without knowing why she was arrested, when she will be released, and the unbearable and poor conditions of her detention.
Aya stated that her mother informed the lawyer that she was dizzy and was taken to the hospital and given medical solutions, before she announced the hunger strike, noting that the lawyer told them that her mother was in very bad health and psychological condition. Aya had previously announced that her mother was being abused for political reasons that had nothing to do with her, as well as in retaliation for her grandfather, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, who opposes the Egyptian political
The Egyptian authorities arrested Ola and her husband Hossam Khalaf, on 30 June 2017 for their alleged involvement with “terrorist” groups established in violation of the law, and planning to carry out terrorist operations targeting security and state institutions and financing that group”, and since then their detention has been renewed periodically.
In July 2019, the Cairo Criminal Court decided to release Ola Al-Qaradawi with precautionary measures, and hours later the Public Prosecution decided to imprison her in a new case.
The Egyptian law set conditions for pretrial detention, including not exceeding two years before a presidential decree was issued in 2013 giving the right to renew pretrial detention for 45 days, renewable without adherence to the previous periods, which sparked widespread human rights criticism.
The Geneva Council fears that the continued arbitrary detention of Ola Al-Qaradawi and her husband Hussam throughout this period without trial, indicates that the detention was carried out for political reasons and not on criminal facts, and therefore they are deprived of freedom in contravention of international human rights standards.
The Council urges the Egyptian authorities to ensure the safety of detainee Ola amid her ongoing hunger strike and demands the immediate release of her and her husband. The Council also calls on the Special Rapporteur on arbitrary detention to intervene with the Egyptian authorities to compel them to release Ola, her husband, and other detainees for political reasons, and end arbitrary detention policy.

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