Mohamed el-Baqer

Mohamed el-Baqer is a human rights lawyer and director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms.

On 29 September 2019, Mohamed el-Baqer was arrested at the premises of the state security prosecution where he was attending an investigation session of the blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who had been arrested earlier that morning. The supreme state security prosecution decided to detain Mr el-Baqer pending investigation on charges of joining an illegal group and spreading false news in supreme state security case 1356/2019. He has reportedly suffered ill-treatment during detention, such as being denied access to drinking water, sanitation and medical assistance.

His arrest is part of a wider campaign in which over 4,400 people have been detained or disappeared since 20 September following demonstrations calling for President al-Sisi to step down, and comes in the context of shrinking space for human rights organisations and human rights defenders. The UN human rights office has expressed its concerns over his arrest.

He has been detained in the maximum-security wing 2 of Tora prison, known as Scorpion 2 prison due to the horrible detention conditions. El-Baqer is denied exercise outside of his cell and access to books or newspapers since his arrest.  

On 19 February 2020, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of both, Mohamed el Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah, but this was appealed by the Public Prosecution and the decision was revoked the following day.  

On 31 August 2020, the state security prosecution investigated him in a new case (855/2020) on charges of joining a terrorist group and taking part in a criminal agreement to commit terrorist crimes. The acts he is accused of allegedly took place while he was in pre-trial detention. 

On 23 November 2020, Mohamed el-Baqer was placed on the terrorism list for a period of five years following the request filed by the Public Prosecutor in case 1781/2019. This means that he will not be allowed to travel, assume any official position, or practice civil work. Additionally, his accounts and assets are frozen and he is not allowed to transfer or receive money. The appeal session of this decision took place on 18 November 2021, and was rejected.

On 27 November 2020, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) granted its 2020 Human Rights Award to Mohamed el-Baqer 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 called for the immediate release of El-Baqer and other human rights defenders and activists.  

Mohamed el-Baqer was referred to trial with Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed Oxygen in case 1228 of 2021 in front of the Emergency Court in October and November 2021, facing the charge of “spreading false news”. The three human rights defenders’ lawyers were not allowed to make copies of the case file, nor to present a defence. The Emergency Court maintained jurisdiction over the case despite the end of the state of emergency declared by President Al Sisi on 25 October 2021. On 20 December 2021, Mohamed El-Baqer was sentenced to four years in prison.

On 1 December 2021, 7 UN Special Rapporteurs and experts called on Egypt to halt the misuse of counter-terrorism measures against civil society activists, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders, and to immediately release three of those arbitrarily detained, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Ibrahim Radwan (Oxygen).

In June 2022, Mr el Baqer received the Ebru Timtik Award jointly with lawyer Haitham Mohamedeen.

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