60 Detainees Released, including Detained Teachers Objecting their Exclusion from the 30K Teachers Competition and the Release of Hala Fahmi, Safaa’ al-Korbigi, and Manal Agrama
State Security Prosecution ordered today, February 7th, the release of 60 citizens (women and men) from pretrial detention in cases related to the exercise of freedom of expression, peaceful use of social media and peaceful protests. Those defendants were accused of charges related to communication and collaboration with terrorist groups in addition to incitement, publishing falsified news and rumours and the abuse of social media.
Those released included clients who were represented by EIPR, including 3 Egyptian female journalists detained for writing on social media and for their political stances, Hala Fahmi, Manal Agrama, and Safaa Mohammad Hassan (aka Safaa al-Korbigi).
The State Security Prosecution also released 14 teachers arrested and became subject to pretrial detention due to objecting their exclusion from appointment, despite having passed the official exams in a competition for hiring 30k teachers. They were excluded for discriminatory reasons specified by the Military Academy in Egypt, including pregnancy and overweight.
The Prosecution also ordered the release of Amr Abdul Rahman Zaki, on remand since 2022. Also released was Mumtaz Ahmad Lutfi, detained since September 2022, after having been arrested from home in August of the same year due to having published a post commenting on a “fire set to Gamasa prison” in August of the same year. He deleted the post upon confirming that it was incorrect. However, the State Security Prosecution pressed against him charges of affiliation to a terrorist group, publishing fake news, and abuse of social media, in case no.1539/ 2022 (State Security). The prosecution then renewed the pretrial detention several times.
The 3 journalists were arrested on close intervals in different cases. Manal Agrama, a reporter for the Radio and Television Magazine, was arrested in case 1893/ 2022, better known as the call for 11-11 protests. She was arrested from home, where she lived with her senior parents. Safaa al-Korbigi and Hala Fahmi were accused in case 441/ 2022 of being active in defending the rights of the employees of Maspero (Egyptian Television Authority) and the Radio and Television Magazine. However, they were allegedly charged with affiliation to and promotion of a terrorist group and the broadcasting of falsified news and statements.
Agrama was also accused of financing a terrorist group and involvement in a criminal act leading to terrorism. On 10 February 2022, the Prosecution refused to permit her to attend her father’s funeral.
Hala Fahmi was subject to multiple attacks during her detention. She stated during investigating some of these the verbal and physical assaults that Al-‘Asher Prison administration – where she was detained and attacked – denied her the ability to report, in violation of Article 80 of the Law on Regulating Imprisonment. This article provides that the prison director, or the prison warden, must receive any serious complaint filed by an inmate, whether verbal or written, and must file a report to the public prosecutor or the competent authority after documenting such in the specific register.
After detention in April 2022, charges were levelled against the reporter Safaa al-Korbigi, including joining and promoting the ideas of an outlawed group and the dissemination of falsified statements. Upon that, she was imprisoned in al-Qanater prison. During the prosecution investigations, al-Korbigi was presented with videos she posted on her Facebook page connected to the Maspero protests against the National Authority for Media.
The State Security Prosecution also ordered the release of 14 teachers (men and women) who were detained after their protests for being excluded by the Ministry of Education, despite having passed the exams organised by the Central Agency for Organization and Administration. The exams were held based on a call for a 30K teachers’ competition. Excluded teachers demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Education HQ in the New Capital. The protest was mainly to have their results acknowledged and to reverse the rejection based on discriminatory reasons as approved by the Military College further Tests, which were not announced in the call for the Competition.
Noteworthy, EIPR is the legal representative of some female teachers excluded for reasons related to recent pregnancy and childbirth, weight, and physical fitness as indicated by the prerequisites of tests held by the Military Academy. During the first hearing, 6 cases for these women teachers were completed on Tuesday, February 6th, by referral to the State Commissioners Authority to issue a report on the case.