There are growing fears for the health of Egyptian journalist Hisham Fouad. He has been detained for the 18 months on trumped-up charges of “economic conspiracy”.
The Egypt Solidarity campaign reports that Hisham has been denied medical examinations and treatment for pre-existing conditions and new health problems.
Hisham was seized by security forces in June 2019 along with a group of opposition figures.
The Egyptian interior ministry falsely claims those arrsted were siphoning funds towards activities planned by the banned opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Almost ten years since the Egyptian Revolution that swept away the dictator Hosni Mubarak, fierce repression is again widespread.
There are some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. They are victims of state repression launched by dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as part of a counter-revolution.
Hisham is a well-known figure on the Egyptian left. A leading student activist in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Then he went on to play a key role in the mid-1990s in a campaign by young journalists to resist control of the Egyptian Journalists’ Union by media owners and managers.
Over the following decades, his journalism helped mobilise support for the workers’ movement, including for the independent unions which emerged in the late 2000s.
Hisham was also a prominent organiser in the movement against the war on Iraq in 2003 and in Palestine solidarity activism.
Egypt Solidarity says, "Deliberate medical neglect is shockingly common in Egyptian prisoners, and those who are still in 'pre-trial' detention like Hisham are even more vulnerable than those who have been convicted. Nearly 70 detainees died between January and November 2020 from medical neglect."
On 30 November the family of human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoniem learned that she was hospitalized after suffering from suspected kidney failure and severe pain.
Her relatives last saw her during a court hearing in October but continue to be denied prison visits and access to her medical records, raising their anguish about her health and wellbeing.
She has been held for more than two years without trial.
Leading figures in the British trade union movement have previously called for Hisham's release. Now more action is needed.
Campaigning can make a difference
Earlier this month Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer were released pending investigations into terrorism-related and other unfounded charges.
They were arrested between 15 and 19 November 2020 by Egyptian security forces and arbitrarily detained at the Tora Prison Complex, in apparent retaliation for a human rights briefing.
Amnesty International said, “Their releases came in the wake of intense campaigning and mobilisation involving activists, NGOs, journalists, celebrities, politicians and academics in Egypt and globally.”