The CSW President adds that Mr. Zaki’s 19-month detention goes against Article 143 of Egypt’s Code of Criminal Procedures, which stipulates a pre-trial period of six months for misdemeanor crimes, 18 months for criminal offences, and two years in case of crimes receiving the life sentence or the death penalty.
Mr. Mervyn calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Mr. Zaki who served as a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
The CSW President also urges the Egyptian government “to allow all those working to defend and uphold human rights in the country to do so without harassment or intimidation.”
Egypt has been in the limelight for violating the rights of human rights activists by unlawfully detaining them for long periods.
In 2019, Egyptian authorities raided Rami Kamil’s house in Cairo and arrested him. He was accused of joining a terrorist organization, disturbing public order, inciting the public against the State and using social media to stir up sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians.
Gerges Sameeh Zaki has also remained in custody since November 2020 when he was arrested after sectarian violence broke out in the village of Barsha in Minya governorate, Upper Egypt.
A counter terrorism court in Cairo renewed the detention of Mr. Sameeh for 45 days on September 7.
On September 15, CSW officials called on the Egyptian government “to end the practice of prolonging pre-trial detention arbitrarily and indefinitely, and to facilitate the immediate release of Mr. Sameeh, Mr. Kamil and others held for pre-trial periods that exceed legal stipulations.”
“We also urge the authorities to adopt measures aimed at combating the culture of collective punishment in the Minya region, and to address the societal hostility underpinning sectarian discord through a robust program of civic education that promotes respect for religious diversity and equality of citizenship,” CSW officials said.
They added, “Local human rights organizations like Mr. Kamil’s are key to this effort, and they must be allowed to undertake this work unhindered.”