Neamatallah Hisham, wife of jailed Egyptian lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, 'freed' after brief detention

Neamatallah Hisham, wife of jailed Egyptian lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, 'freed' after brief detention
Lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, founder and director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, was detained in 2019 while representing his client, high-profile activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, at the state security prosecution’s office.
3 min read
Egypt - Cairo
17 April, 2023
Mohamed El-Baqer's wife was taken by security forces shortly after exposing alleged abuses committed against her husband in jail. [Getty]

Neamatallah Hisham, the wife of prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, has reportedly been freed after being detained earlier on Monday.

Hossam Baghat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said Hisham had reportedly been released after her brief disappearance.

"We can confirm @Neama_hisham has been freed after 13 hours of detention," he wrote on Twitter,

She was reportedly detained in the early hours of Monday shortly after she had publicly exposed abuses committed against her husband and other prisoners in jail.

Security forces confiscated Hisham's mobile phone and took her from her home in Cairo by force to an undisclosed location before dawn, several Egyptian rights groups said in a joint statement. They demanded the disclosure of her whereabouts and her immediate release.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor - who regularly calls attention to Baqer's case, along with that of his imprisoned client Alaa Abdel Fattah - called the news "disturbing".

Before her disappearance, Hisham posted on social media that Baqer and his fellow political prisoners in the same cell, including 25 January Revolution figures Mohamed Ibrahim (nicknamed Oxygen) and Ahmed Douma, were beaten up, subjected to maltreatment and malnutrition and kept in solitary confinement at the Badr 1 prison from 10 April – 13 April.

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The Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights Information (EIPR) filed a complaint before the prosecutor-general on 14 April, demanding an investigation into the alleged assault the prisoners in question were exposed to, the group said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Hisham's Facebook and Twitter accounts are no longer accessible to the public online. But social media activists have already shared screenshots of her posts about her husband and his fellows' alleged violations by the prison guards and officers.

Baqer, the founder and director of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, was detained while representing high-profile activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah at the state security prosecution's office back in September 2019.

After many months of pre-trial detention, in December 2021, Abdel-Fattah, Baqer and Oxygen were convicted of "broadcasting false news by a Cairo state security court and later added to the terror watch list.

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The regime of Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has overseen a harsh crackdown against government opponents ever since coming to power in a 2013 military coup.

Egypt's human rights record is regularly condemned by human rights groups who estimate that there are about 60,000 political prisoners in the country, many facing abuse, torture and neglect.

Egypt has in the past year granted pardons and announced a "national dialogue" that has been repeatedly delayed and met with scepticism.

According to Amnesty International, 895 political prisoners were released between April and December last year, but close to triple that number were detained.