Detained activist banned from attending father’s funeral for security reasons
activist Bassam Mohamed Ali - Photo courtesy of Mokawma Movement Facebook Page

CAIRO: Social media users erupted in anger after published news about activist Bassam Mohamed Ali, a member of Mokawma (resistance) Movement in Helwan University, was denied prison furlough for his father’s funeral Friday.

Bassam was arrested in June 2013 after participating in the Ithadeya marches against the protest law, member of the Mokawma Movement political office Wesam Al-Bakry told The Cairo Post Saturday. “His family tried to write a letter to the attorney general for a temporary furlough so he can attend his father’s funeral but the authorities did not accept it,” Bakry said.

The letter read: “Mr. Attorney General, this is a humanist call to order release for Bassam Mohamed Ali since he is the eldest son. Bassam is considered the only breadwinner of his family now so we are asking you kindly to release him.” His family had written to the attorney general during Ramadan, according to Al-Bakry but was not accepted.

“We tried to get another permission to release him for exceptional reasons, so that he can be with his family during the funeral,” Bakry said, “and we succeed to get it on Saturday morning. However, the prison director later started to argue us about the permission although the attorney general approved it. He refused to release Bassam, saying that he received orders from the National Security banning him from being released.”

“The prison director explained that the security forces told him not to release Bassam for security reasons without further excuses or reasons,” Bakry added.

“According to the law, the national security has no higher authority over the attorney general,” Basam’s lawyer Halim Hemesh told The Cairo Post. “But actually the national security interferes in everything, even if it is not legal. Bassam’s case is not an exceptional case but this does not mean that the ban was legal.”

“Bassam is not a prisoner with a judicial sentence,” Hemesh said. “He is under investigations in the case of the Ithadeya demonstrations and so far he is not even considered a prisoner by the Ministry of Interior but the public prosecution is still responsible of observing him.”

Bassam has been detained for more than 50 days so far, Mokawma Movement wrote on its official Facebook page Friday: “He is only 19 years old and now he is the only breadwinner in his family. His father is now dead and he cannot even attend the funeral.”

Some political powers called for demonstrations in June 2013 against the protest law that was issued during transitional President Adly Mansour’s regime. Many demonstrators were arrested for breaking the law by protesting without official governmental permission.

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