Egypt: Ahead of upcoming dialogue, a court renews detention of activist ‘Al-Rouby’

Raising further doubts about Egyptian authorities’ commitment to reform, ahead of the upcoming national dialogue, a court again renewed the detention of activist Sherif al-Rouby.

In late March, an Egyptian court again renewed the detention of activist Sherif al-Rouby, which has raised further doubts about the Egyptian authorities’ commitment to reform ahead of the upcoming national dialogue, called for by Sisi last year.

Al-Rouby was released from two years of pretrial detention in May 2022, just weeks after General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s announcement of the national dialogue and the reactivated Presidential Pardon Committee.

However, only three months later, al-Rouby was arrested again after giving an interview about the challenges he faced after prison.

It was his fourth time being unjustly detained in six years and his third time facing the same charges.

At his renewal session this week, al-Rouby told the court that prison authorities have refused to provide him with medical care or transfer him to a hospital for treatment despite nerve issues affecting his speech and eyesight.

At the time of his re-arrest, seven human rights organizations said that the arrests of al-Rouby and other prisoners of conscience “completely undermine any hope in the national dialogue.”

The dialogue is due to begin early May even as more political prisoners continue to be arrested than released and thousands more remain behind bars.

Another high-profile activist, April 6 Youth Movement co-founder Mohamed Adel, stood before court for the first time today, Saturday, following nearly five years in pretrial detention.

Meanwhile, the dialogue’s coordinator, Diaa Rashwan, announced the addition of 16 public figures to the dialogue’s committees, and Reform and Development Party head Mohamed Anwar El Sadat called for the dialogue sessions to be broadcast publicly.

It is to be mentioned that on 30 March, the Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate filed a complaint accusing officers in Gamasa Police Station of murder over the death of Ragai Wafai, a psychiatrist who was imprisoned after one of his patients died and then himself died in detention several days later after being reportedly tortured.

On the same day, the Guardian, citing Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, reported that Egyptian armed forces have taken over 37 schools and transformed them into military bases while destroying dozens others during their decade-long battle with militants in Sinai.