CAIRO: Two men in Alexandria have been detained without charges in an ongoing trend of using police remand as punishment, a number of detainees’ rights advocates told The Cairo Post.
Sherif Farag and Mahmoud Abdel Wahed, two fine arts teaching assistants who were detained from their homes Nov. 24, 2013, have been informally accused of participating in protests on Aug. 14 and 16 in Alexandria.
“The prosecution authorities did not notice that remand for more than six months is in itself a punishment, especially with the absence of justification for remand,” said The Freedom for The Brave, a detainees’ rights organization, in a late Friday statement.
“According to Homeland Security’s investigations, the public prosecution listed charges of joining the Muslim Brotherhood group, and then added charges of gathering and committing violent acts to the list,” said Freedom for the Brave.
Ramy Eid, the detainees’ lawyer and a member at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told The Cairo Post, “During the first investigation that I attended the charges did not include the main charge upon which they were detained.”
Eid added that the prosecution opened a second investigation, where it then included the main charge regarding the participation in August protests. “I and other lawyers refused to attend this investigation due to void procedures, as the accusations drawn against the defendants should be clear, or why they were arrested from the very beginning?”
“Farag and Abdel Wahed have been in custody for over six months; however they should be acquitted as the charges are not valid,” continued Eid. He further said that both detainees were arrested from their homes three months after the August incidents, noting that there is “no evidence” of their participation in the protests.
Eid further noted that Farag’s engagement party was on August 15, saying, “How could he exists in the streets killing people a day before his engagement and then go and continue murdering people on the next day. It cannot happen.”
Remand turns to a punishment
The repetition of the remand period, witnessed lately in an excessive way, is far from the spirit of the law, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Cairo University Laila Soueif told The Cairo Post April 29.
Referring to the random detentions of university students and teaching staff, Soueif, the mother of activists Alaa Abdel el-Fattah and Mona Seif, said, “The remand has turned into punishment.”
In the same context, Lawyer Eid explained that if two years passed without referring the detainees to the court, they should be acquitted from the case. “But if they were referred to the Criminal court, due to the charges of murder and attempted murder facing them, they might stay in police custody for an open remand.”
Eid referred to a decision issued by the Interim President Adly Mansour extending the period of the remand to open in cases which their punishment may be either “Death sentence” or “Life sentence.”
He said, “The prosecution uses this power to leave the detainees in custody for longer period, and this is a big problem.”
In some situations, the detainees might be acquitted from the cases after they spend a punishment under the name of “Remand.”