Egyptian detainee handed over by Kuwait dies in prison

Egyptian detainee handed over by Kuwait dies in prison
Egyptian academic Samir Younis, 67, was convicted of holding a leadership position in the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
2 min read
28 June, 2024
Tens of thousands of political prisoners languish behind bars in Egypt [Getty]

An Egyptian academic has died in prison several years after he was handed over to Cairo by Kuwaiti authorities, Arabic news site Arabi21 reported on Friday.

Samir Younis, 67, was handed over to Egypt by Kuwait around five years ago, the report states.

Younis, a former university professor at Egypt's Helwan University had been working in Kuwait for over 25 years.

He was wanted, and later convicted by the Egyptian government for allegedly holding a leadership position in the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Egypt regularly uses accusations of supporting or financing "terrorism", or joining outlawed groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, to hold activists and opposition figures as long as possible in pre-trial detention.

The indictment against Younis states that he had joined a group whose purpose was to "call for the suspension of the constitution and laws, prevent state institutions and public authorities from carrying out their work, attack citizens' personal freedoms, liberties and rights and harm national unity and social peace."

Younis, along with 13 others were tried in a case that received very little media attention, human rights organisations have said, according to Arabi21.

Online, tributes have poured in for Younis, with many people criticising the Egyptian government for putting him behind bars.

"May God have mercy on Dr. Samir Younis…and the officials in Kuwait, who, despite their knowledge that he would be tortured, handed him over to the executioners in Egypt so that he may die as a martyr in its prisons," the former spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt wrote on X.

"The funeral of Dr. Samir Younis who was detained in the dirty prisons of Al-Sisi was prevented, after Kuwait betrayed him. He continued to study in university and was deported to Egypt and he was buried in the middle of the night on the 28th of June in the Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate…an immoral regime, an immoral police, and a traitorous army," another social media user wrote, calling for Egypt's president Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to step down.

Local and international human rights groups estimate that Egypt has detained as many as 60,000 people since current President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected leader, in a military coup in 2013.