Mohamed El-Baqer, human rights lawyer and founder of the Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms, was released on Thursday 20 July following a “presidential pardon” from President Al-Sisi.
After 4 years and 10 months in the high-security Tora 2 and Badr 1 prisons, where he was subject to numerous abuses, the lawyer was released after being informed that he had benefited from a “presidential pardon” a year ahead of Egypt’s general elections.
Mr El-Baqer’s arrest followed his work defending activist and fervent opponent of the regime Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was also being held on charges of “disseminating false information” and “associating with a terrorist organisation”.
The United Nations, the European Union, the Observatory and numerous NGOs have been calling for Mohamed El Baqer’s release for several years. His work received international recognition when the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) awarded him its prestigious Human Rights Award in 2020 for “honouring the legal profession by upholding the highest values of professional and personal conduct”.
In 2021, the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger echoed this situation by sending a communication to 12 countries and to the European Union embassy in Egypt, warning of the serious lack of security for colleagues in the country.
In 2022, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) reported that more than 80 lawyers were still detained in Egypt for defending the rights of their clients and for taking a stand in favour of human rights.