Court / Presiding Judge
Mahmoud Muhammad Ahmed Hussein was first detained on January 25, 2014. He faced near automatic detention renewals until his release was ordered on March 22, 2016. Despite an attempted appeal by the prosecution, his release upon payment of LE1,000 bail was affirmed on March 24, 2016. The case against him has technically not yet been closed; however, there have been no legal developments since his release.
Summary of Reasoning
The case dates back to January 25, 2014. Mahmoud was returning home from a peaceful protest commemorating the third anniversary of the January 25 Revolution when he was stopped by police at al-Marg checkpoint for wearing a January 25 scarf and a T-shirt with the slogan “a nation without torture.” Egyptian authorities forced Mahmoud to confess under the duress of torture to false accusations including possessing Molotov cocktails and hand grenades, belonging to a terrorist organization, protesting without authorization, and receiving money to protest.
Mahmoud was arbitrarily arrested and subjected to over four hours of beatings and electric shocks to his back, hands, and testicles. Mahmoud was kept in pretrial detention beyond the domestic two-year maximum set forth under Egyptian law. Various international organizations, including Amnesty International and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, advocated on his behalf.
Legal & Judicial Implications
Mahmoud’s detention for two years and two months for wearing a T-shirt raises serious questions on his right to freedom of expression. Further, the court’s decision to keep Mahmoud in detention beyond the legal two-year maximum for pretrial detention occurred in violation of domestic and international law. Finally, the severe allegations of torture in this case and the failure of the Egyptian authorities to investigate and halt the practice also constitute undeniable violations to Egypt’s domestic and international legal obligations.