Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is a human rights lawyer and the co-founder and coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared. Mr Metwally represents families of people forcibly disappeared by the Egyptian state and was reported for providing legal advice to the family of Giulio Regeni, the Italian Cambridge university student who disappeared on 25 January 2016 and whose body was found bearing signs of extreme torture.
Mr Metwally was arrested on 10 September 2017 at Cairo International airport while travelling to Geneva to attend a session of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID). He was held in pre-trial detention for over two years in state security case 900/2017, on charges of establishing and leading an illegal group, spreading false news and communicating with foreign entities to support him in spreading his group’s ideas. During this time his health severely deteriorated due to medical neglect and he was denied visitation rights.
On 14 October 2019, the supreme state security prosecution decided to release him, however his release order was not implemented and on 5 November 2019 he was accused in a new case (1470/2019) on charges of joining a terrorist group and funding terrorism. This is a way to circumvent the two-year maximum on pre-trial detention prescribed by Egyptian law.
On 26 August 2020, he received a release order with precautionary measures in state security case 1470/2019, yet the release order was not implemented. On 6 September 2020, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) reported that he was accused and investigated in a new case (786/2020) by the supreme state security prosecution on the charge of “taking command of a group” which was formed during his transfers to and from the prosecution for detention renewals.
On 27 November 2020, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) granted its 2020 Human Rights Award to Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy and another six Egyptian lawyers who are currently in pre-trial detention in a number of different cases, for their role in defending human rights.
The European Parliament’s urgency resolution of 18 December 2020 on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Egypt reiterated its call for his immediate release, amongst other human rights defenders and activists.
In October 2021, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights warned that his health is seriously deteriorating: he has been suffering from prostate hyperplasia for over a year and has been denied access to medication. He requires urgent surgery to avoid serious complications that could be life-threatening and to relax the extreme pain he suffers in his solitary cell.