As Mohamed Adel celebrates his 34th birthday we are reminded that he has now spent a quarter of his life in jail for the crime of having an opinion. The Detention of April 6 Movement media spokesperson and cofounder, Mohamed Adel has been renewed every 45 days since June 2018, long past the 2-yr legal limit. If the world is to ever take Egypt seriously, they must release young leaders like Mohamed immediately. Enough lives have been destroyed.
After being jailed, Mohammed lost his job as a programmer and was unable to access technology, something that had been his lifelong passion. However, he decided to pursue a new profession and applied to law school in august 2020. Not losing hope that he would one day be released, he married his fiancée Rofayda in September of 2020. Unfortunately, they were afforded only the formalities of marriage as there could be no ceremony and celebrations. Mohamed yearns to start a life outside prison and continues to hope that he will be released soon.
Mohamed continues to be held in prison under “preventive detention”, which is being renewed every 45 days, without legal justification or judicial ruling for his detention. The practice where human rights defenders, including lawyers, are being ordered into pretrial detention and then added to new cases following release orders in prior cases, sidesteps domestic pretrial detention maximums, consequently leading to indefinite pretrial detention.
Prior to his detention in 2018, Mohamed Adel served a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence on charges of violating Egypt’s protest law. Upon his release in January 2017, Adel was handed a further “surveillance” sentence where he spent each night from 6 pm to 6 am in a jail cell. On June 18, 2018, Mohamed Adel was re-arrested on charges of spreading false news and expressing anti-state sentiments on Facebook. Adel was detained at the police station where he was serving his 12-hour per day sentence.
CASE OVERVIEW / LEGAL DETERMINATIONS
Mohamed Adel is the media spokesperson and founder of the April 6 Youth Movement. On December 18, 2013, Adel was arrested by Egyptian authorities after they stormed the offices of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) where Adel was volunteering in the organization’s media unit at the time. After a quick trial, Adel was sentenced to three years in jail and a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds on charges of assaulting police officers and “organizing illegal protests.”
Adel was released in January 2017 and sentenced to a further three-year detention which was recognized as arbitrary in an Opinion adopted by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on December 3, 2015. Under his “surveillance” sentence, Adel was required to spend every night at a police station from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. as a measure of judicial control, which constitutes another form of arbitrary deprivation of his liberty. It was during this control measure that Adel was re-arrested at Aga police station on June 18, 2018.
On June 22, 2018, Alkarama requested the intervention of several UN Special Procedures in the case of Mohamed Adel, regarding his arrest on June 18, 2018, and detainment pending an investigation over allegations of “spreading false information” and “attempting to harm state institutions”. Alkarama requested the intervention of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, as well as the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, arguing that Adel’s current arrest and detention constitute an act of reprisal for his peaceful activism, as well as a clear breach of his rights to freedom of expression and of association.
Alkarama requested that the Special Procedures intervene with the Egyptian authorities to call for Adel’s immediate release, and to encourage the authorities to put an end to the arbitrary measures of judicial control against him. Alkarama further requested that the Special Procedures appeal to the Egyptian authorities to lift the ban on the April 6 Youth Movement, which constitutes a clear breach of its members’ right to freedom of association.
The detention of Mohamed Adel, and many others, runs counter to the Egyptian government’s own commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Egyptian regime’s long history of human rights violations are well known. Judicial cases, trials, and sentences continue to proceed without transparency and due process for Egyptian citizens as well as citizens of other countries unjustly imprisoned by the regime in Egypt, including several American citizens.
APRIL 6 MOVEMENT
The April 6 Movement was originally started as a Facebook group in support of textile workers of the city of Mahall al-Kobrahas. It was named after their planned strike date of April 6, 2008. The group quickly acquired thousands of followers and became one of the most prominent youth opposition groups in Egypt. They played a critical role in the uprising on January 25, 2011, for which they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.