The last 45 days have been extremely difficult for Ola and Hosam’s children who have been denied visits and any communication with their mother and father. The family has had no knowledge about their mother and grandmother except that she remains isolated in solitary confinement in a concrete cell with no insulation, heat or sunlight as the Cairo winter gets worse.
Today Ola was transported to the court house in the police academy in the Torah prison complex. Hosam’s extension session will be heard on January 8th.
She was placed in a glass cage. Ola’s lawyers requested from the judge to allow her to speak and the request was granted. Ola appealed to the judge that she had no affiliation to any political or religious group, was never politically active, and that she has committed no crime. She informed him that she was being held in solitary confinement in very difficult conditions. Ola requested permission to speak with her lawyers and the judge granted this request but in the presence of a prison guard. Ola informed her lawyers that her conditions have not improved.
Ola’s lawyers objected to the fabricated charges and continued arbitrary detainment ordered on merely ongoing investigations. To date Ola and her legal team have never been officially informed of the charges against her.
The judge ruled to renew Ola’s detention for yet another 45 days, marking her 2nd 45 day renewal and 12th renewal overall after 180 days of arbitrary detainment.
The family acknowledges and is grateful to the US Embassy in Cairo for sending an officer to attend, however, they were unable to access the courtroom.
Ola’s detention is a clear violation of due process. It is also a violation of both Egyptian and international law. Ola’s family calls for the international community to monitor Ola and Hosam’s court appearances and urgently assist in securing their immediate release.
Last month, US Vice President Pence December visit to Cairo was postponed. However, Ola and Hosam’s case was raised several times in Washington by human rights activists and media calling on the White House to intervene. Aayah, their eldest daughter, spoke with NPR’s State Department Correspondent Michele Kelemen about her parents case (listen to interview) and was interviewed by TIME’s journalist Elizabeth Diaz, and Huffington Post’s journalist Akbar Ahmed. Washington Post also published articles about Americans detained in Egypt.
71 members of congress issued a letter to the Vice President to address human rights in Egypt and called for the Egyptian government to take steps to release any American citizens or Legal Permanent Residents who have been arbitrarily detained and to comply with international human rights standards for detention of all prisoners.
The family calls upon the Egyptian government to unconditionally and immediately release Ola and Hosam.
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