STRATEGIC LITIGATION

Human Rights Lawyer Brutally Detained

EgyptCivic Space and Activists

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Egyptian Human Rights Lawyer Malek Adly Released After 116 Days in Solitary Confinement

Malek Adly devoted his life and legal career to defending socially motivated protestors, as well as protecting human rights in his home country of Egypt and beyond. As head of the legal unit for the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, he’s fought countless battles against injustice. In 2016, he found himself entrenched in one of his own when Egyptian officials arrested him for his activism surrounding the widely protested and highly controversial transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

Charged with offenses including “attempting to overthrow the regime,” “spreading false rumors,” and “using force against a public servant”—without producing a single shred of evidence to back the bogus charges —Malek found himself in solitary confinement for 116 days, as his mental and physical health deteriorated. He was denied access to proper medical care, books, and the prison mosque. The Egyptian government continually denied an impartial hearing of his detention before Malek was eventually released in August 2016.

Why is This a Key Case?

Malek’s detention reflects a wider trend in Egypt of leveraging force, torture, and pretrial detention to silence activists, journalists, and peaceful political dissidents. The prison system itself is nightmarish; severe overcrowding, aggressive use of solitary confinement and torture, denial of access to food and water, and insufficient medical care coalesce to create a deadly state of affairs. Egyptian NGO El-Nadeem has documented 239 deaths in detention, 915 incidents of torture, and 597 cases of inadequate medical care over the last two years in the country’s prisons.

How Did RFK Human Rights Support Malek?

The organization filed a petition before the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Malek in July 2016.

What is the Status of the Case?

Malek was released from detention on August 28, 2016, though the domestic “investigation” is still ongoing. A decision by the U.N. Working Group has been paused given Malek’s release. RFK Human Rights will continue to monitor.

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