Court releases Egyptian shiite detainee

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) on Wednesday obtained a ruling from the Supreme State Security Court lifting a detention order issued against Mohamed Farouk el-Sayed, an Egyptian national detained along with seven others for adopting the Shiite doctrine of Islam.

The EIPR called on the Interior Minister to immediately carry out the court order and release the defendants, who have been in custody for more than a year and whose detentions were renewed last month despite legal amendments recently made to the emergency law. It also appealed to the Attorney-General to investigate the Interior Minister for unlawfully detaining el-Sayed.

“Renewing the detention of Egyptian citizens only because they adopt the Shia doctrine proves the false claims of the government about limiting application of the emergency law to terrorism and drug trafficking,” said EIPR legal councilor Adel Ramadan. “It furthermore violates the constitution, which guarantees the right of every citizen to hold his own beliefs.”

The Interior Ministry arrested el-Sayed and 11 others in April and May of last year, charging them with forming of an organized group that sought to promote the Shiite ideology. Prosecutors later issued a decision to release all 12 defendants last October, but the Interior Ministry subsequently re-arrested eight of them.

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