Egypt renews pre-trial detention of Ola Al-Qaradawi

The Egyptian authorities on 6 October 2021 renewed the pre-trial detention of Ola Al-Qaradawi for a period of 45 days.

The daughter of prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has already been detained for four years.

Ahmed Abu El-Ela Madi, Ola Al-Qaradawi’s lawyer, said that the extension was issued after allegations that she has “broadcast and published false news, as well as joined a terror group.”

“Ola’s detention renewal comes after being held for four years and three months pre-trial,” said Madi on Facebook.

Madi noted that she has gone on a hunger strike “in protest at the periodic renewal of her detention after completing a 24-month pre-trial detention period stipulated in Egyptian law.”

Since her arrest with her husband in June 2017, Ola Al-Qaradawi has been held in solitary confinement.

Ola’s health have reportedly deteriorated, which has been ignored by the prison authorities.

She and her husband are accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt banned following the 2013 military coup. However, they altogether deny these charges.

The maximum period that detainees are allowed to be held in pre-trial detention in Egypt is two years. Even then, it is only supposed to be used in an emergency.

The UN human rights office has also urged Egypt to free the prominent married couple that have long been arbitrarily detained.

Ola Al-Qaradawi and her husband Hosam Khalaf, both in their 50s, were arrested at their vacation home in Alexandria on 30 June 2017, allegedly for their affiliation with the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization and for terrorist activities.

“We call on Egypt to release all those arbitrarily detained in the country unconditionally,” said Liz Throssell (OHCHR)

Ms. Al-Qaradawi has been held in solitary confinement “in one of the worst prisons in Egypt”, the UN human rights office said on Tuesday. Her husband is being held in similar conditions in a different prison, according to media reports.

Ms. Al-Qaradawi has been denied visits from her family and lawyers, and recently began a hunger strike in protest.

“We understand that Ola Al-Qaradawi’s health is frail and deteriorating and urge the authorities to ensure that her right to health and to physical and psychological integrity is respected,” Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, told journalists in Geneva.

“We call on Egypt to release all those arbitrarily detained in the country unconditionally.”

A UN-mandated body had issued a decision determining that Ms. Al-Qaradawi and her husband had been arbitrarily arrested, and called for their immediate release.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also determined that repeated renewals of 45-day detention orders against them resulted in ongoing violations of their rights to fair trial and due process.

Furthermore, Ms. Al-Qaradawi’s prolonged solitary confinement could also amount to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The decision stated that “The Working Group cannot but conclude that Ms. al-Qaradawi and Mr. Khalaf have been arrested and detained for their family ties with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. This is the only plausible explanation for the subversion of the equal protection of the law they experienced”.

Since the military coup of 2013, General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has ordered the arrest of thousands of his political opponents and critics.

However, detainees include Islamists and secular human rights activists.