Journalist Hisham Fouad has been detained for over two years since being arrested on 25 June 2019. Although the legal limit for ‘pre-trial’ detention in Egypt has now expired he remains in jail, incarcerated in a windowless cell without proper access to medical treatment. Along with former MP Zyad el-Elaimy and journalist Hossam Moanis and at least 15 other individuals in the same case (State Security case 930/2019) he is being arbitrarily detained for his peaceful political activities. Hisham is a well-known activist and advocate for labour rights. He has also played a key role in Palestine solidarity campaigns.
Hisham’s lawyers report that rather than releasing him, the Egyptian authorities are preparing a new case with the aim of extending his detention even further.
In protest at this latest move to keep him illegally detained, Hisham has announced a hunger strike. In a statement from his prison cell, he said “I decided to begin a hunger strike, starting from Saturday 10th of July, in defense of the rule of law and the right to a fair trial and to stop this endless cycle. I hope that my young family, whom I hold in love and appreciation, will understand this decision, and that my children will realize that I did not accept injustice, whether inside or outside of prison.”
After two years of detention in the inhuman conditions of Tora Prison, a hunger strike poses grave risks to Hisham’s health.
We hold the Egyptian authorities responsible for his well-being and safety. The persecution of Hisham and other political activists, journalists, human rights workers and researchers unjustly detained in Egypt must end. We call for Hisham’s immediate and unconditional release and the dropping of all charges against him. The Egyptian authorities must stop using ‘pre-trial’ detention to incarcerate and silence critical voices.