Wife of an Egyptian deported from Turkey back to his country, who faces the death penalty for being a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, has said that she has not been able to hear from her husband for 55 days, daily Karar reported on Wednesday.
Mohamed Abdelhafiz Ahmed Hussein was sent back to Egypt on January 16 from Istanbul’s main Ataturk airport on arrival from Somalia due to lacking a Turkish visa.
Identified as a member by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Hussein was reportedly among 28 people sentenced in absentia to death in July 2017 for killing Egypt’s top prosecutor Hisham Barakat in a car bomb attack.
So far, nine suspects of the attack were executed by Egypt during the rule of its current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who regards the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
The move was denounced by many rights groups that claimed the executions were carried out after the suspects had been tried unfairly and subjected to torture and beatings to extract confessions.
Walaa Al-Ghazali, wife of Hussein who currently lives in Istanbul, has told Karar that she has not heard from her husband, whom she claims lost his mental health due to torture in prison, for the last 55 days.
Ghazali explained that she was texting Hussein when he was at the Ataturk Airport and that he seemed confident that Turkey would accept his asylum request. She underlined that his phone number suddenly became unreachable while they were exchanging text messages.
“What I fear the most that he will be forgotten about,” she stated.
In February, people in Turkey found out about the situation after a photo of Hussein showing him bound to a seat in a plane and handcuffed behind the back circulated on social media.
He was living outside Egypt since the bloody coup in 2013, after which Sisi ousted elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood is seen by the Turkish government as an entirely peaceful organization.
Hussein, who was handed over to Egypt from Turkey, is reportedly being held in a Cairo prison unknown to his family members and lawyers.
Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International’s Egypt campaigner, also voiced serious concerns that Sisi critic’s fair trial rights were violated.
According to Baoumi’s and the wife’s reported statements on the issue, Hussein was seen at a court hearing on March 3 for the first time after being sent back to Egypt in January.
He was not allowed to see any lawyers or family members until the hearing.
His lawyers who saw him at the hearing said that Hussein had great difficulty in focusing his eyes, laughed a few times for no reason and wore summer clothes although the weather was cold.
They argued that these were signs of heavy torture that caused him to lose his sanity.
The Brotherhood came to power in 2012, following the first modern free election of Egypt that came after a popular uprising that saw long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak toppled.
The army led by Sisi ousted the Brotherhood’s Mursi following a bloody coup a year later. The President has carried out a crackdown on Islamists, banning the movement and sending its leaders, together with its supporters to jail, since then.
Cairo blames the Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza-based Hamas for the murder of Barakat in 2015, although both groups deny any involvement in the bomb attack.
Turkey’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have hosted a number of the Brotherhood’s members who had to flee their country due to being designated as a terrorist organization in 2013, when Turkey-Egypt relations were deteriorated due to the coup.
Alleged followers of the Brotherhood, which defines itself as a peaceful group, face persecution under the rule of Sisi.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information reported that almost 106,000 people including 60,000 political prisoners and detainees are incarcerated in Egypt.
The country was named as “a full-fledged dictatorship” in January by Ahmed Benchemsi, Human Rights Watch advocacy and communications director, in reference to the mass crackdown on dissidents and a virtual ban on protests by the Sisi administration.