Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge
Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2022 06 Unjustly jailed couple tried by Emergency Court Heavy sentences against unjustly jailed couple
FI 055/22-1
Aktiv seit 17. März 2023 | Noch 40 Tage Laufzeit

Heavy sentences against unjustly jailed couple

AI-Index: MDE 12/6564/2023

On 5 March, an emergency court sentenced Aisha el-Shater and her husband lawyer Mohamed Abo Horeira to ten and 15 years in prison, respectively. They were convicted on bogus charges stemming from their family links and peaceful exercise of their human rights following a grossly unfair trial. The Egyptian authorities have been subjecting Aisha el-Shater to torture by holding her in prolonged solitary confinement and denying her access to adequate healthcare for her serious health condition. The couple have also been banned from any family visits for over four years. Concerns over Mohamed Abo Horeira’s wellbeing have also been heightened amid alarming reports of torture and other ill-treatment in Badr 3 prison where he is held.


On 1 November 2018, Aisha el-Shater and her husband Mohamed Abo Horeira were arrested from their home in Nasr City, Cairo. Amnesty International learned that Aisha el-Shater was forcibly disappeared for 20 days, during which period she was held at the headquarters of the National Security Agency in the Abbasiya neighbourhood of Cairo and subjected to beatings and electric shocks. On 21 November 2018, she appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), where prosecutors ordered her pre-trial detention pending investigations on terrorism-related accusations. Before her arrest, she spoke out on her account on Facebook about human rights violations in Egypt including enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment. Prior to his arrest, lawyer Mohamed Abo Horeira represented detainees suspected of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood. Following his arrest, he was held in an undisclosed location for nearly four months where he was subjected to threats and was hit on the head while handcuffed and blindfolded.On 1 November 2018, following the arrests of Aisha el-Shater, Mohamed Abo Horeira and 29 other human rights defenders and lawyers, the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), which documented enforced disappearances and the use of the death penalty and provided legal aid to victims, announced the suspension of its human rights work.

Officials at al-Qanater women’s prison held Aisha el-Shater in solitary confinement in a small poorly ventilated cell, without a bathroom, from January 2019 to December 2020. Aisha el- Shater has aplastic anemia, a rare and serious condition affecting the blood, which increases the risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding. Despite this, the authorities have denied her access to adequate and specialized healthcare in an outside hospital. Her health deteriorated in detention, and she was admitted, while handcuffed, to Al-Qasr al-Ainy hospital twice in October 2019, with significant bleeding, and was given a platelet transfusion. During the 15 May 2022 trial hearing, the ESSC ordered for Aisha el-Shater’s examination by a committee of three doctors to advise on whether she needs treatment outside prison. As she is banned from communicating with the outside word, her family and lawyers have no information on whether the examination had taken place.

Since February 2023, concerns about cruel and inhuman detention conditions in the Badr 3 prison, around 70 kilometres east of Cairo, have increased amid leaked letters by prisoners indicating a proliferation in suicide attempts by prisoners, who have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including deliberate denial of healthcare, exposure to extreme cold, camera surveillance around the clock, and bombardment with bright lights 24 hours a day. Prisoner letters paint a frightening picture of starving detainees held in isolation, whose despair at the injustices suffered for years has led some to attempt suicide and others to go on hunger strike. Concerns were further heightened after some prisoners held in Badr 3 complained during a detention renewal hearing, held online on 13 March 2023, about being stripped naked and beaten. Since the Badr Prison Complex became operational in mid-2022, the authorities have banned family visits to all prisoners in Badr 3. Prison officials also ban prisoners from any phone or written communication with their relatives, effectively subjecting them to incommunicado detention. Given that the detainees are cut off from the outside world, little information is known about their current situation amid concerns for their well-being and mental health and reports of prison authorities subjecting prisoners to punitive measures for complaining about their treatment including by transferring some to unknown locations and placing others in solitary confinement. Prison officials also refuse to accept deliveries of food, clothes, and other essentials to prisoners from their families, despite well-documented patterns of prison authorities failing to provide those in their custody with sufficient food, potable water, basic items for personal hygiene, adequate clothing and bedding.

On 25 October 2021, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that he would not extend the state of emergency, in force since 2017, which allowed for the creation of ESSCs. Article 19 of the law governing the state of emergency stipulates that ongoing trials are to continue even after the state of emergency is no longer in force. Proceedings in front of ESSCs are inherently unfair. Defendants are denied the right to appeal their convictions and sentences to a higher independent tribunal. Only the president retains the power to authorize, quash or commute sentences or to order a retrial. Throughout their investigation and trial proceedings, which began on 11 September 2022, defendants in the «ECRF case» were banned from speaking to their lawyers in private. Several were interrogated by SSSP prosecutors without their lawyers present. The court hearings were held in secret in the Badr Prison Complex. Observers, members of the public and relatives of defendants were banned from the hearings. Lawyers also said they were not permitted to access their clients’ case files during the investigation. They also said that the court relied on eyewitness testimonies by NSA officers, which were accepted without adequate cross-examination, and did not allow all defendants to speak in court.

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Take action on Social media: Infos see the yellow field on the right.

  • Please take action before 12 May 2023.

  • Preferred language: Arabic, English. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Your Excellency,

On 5 March, an Emergency State Security Court (ESSC) sentenced Aisha el-Shater, the 42-year-old daughter of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat el-Shater, and her husband lawyer Mohamed Abo Horeira to ten and 15 years in prison, respectively, after convicting them of bogus charges stemming from their human rights work and peaceful dissent. The court also convicted Ezzat Ghoniem, founder of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a rights group, human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoneim and 26 others and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from five years to life; one defendant was acquitted. The court also ruled to add the 30 convicted defendants to the «list of terrorists» which leads to asset freezes and travel bans and place them on police probation for five years after prison. Their trial, referred to as the «ECRF case» by Egyptian media, which began on 11 September 2022, was grossly unfair with defendants denied their rights to adequate defence, not to self-incriminate and to genuine review by a higher tribunal. After over four years in abusive pretrial detention, the defendants were indicted in August 2022 on multiple charges, including joining, funding and supporting a terrorist group (the Muslim Brotherhood) and spreading «false news» about human rights abuses by security forces through the ECRF’s Facebook page. Verdicts by ESSCs are final and cannot be appealed.

Aisha el-Shater, who suffers from aplastic anaemia, a rare and serious condition affecting the blood, has been held at the al-Qanater women’s prison clinic since December 2020, amid the authorities’ refusal to transfer her to an adequately equipped outside hospital to ensure that she receives the specialist and ongoing treatment she needs. Mohamed Abo Horeira is held in Badr 3 prison, amid mounting evidence of prisoner abuse there. Since their arrests in November 2018, the authorities have barred Aisha el-Shater and Mohamed Abo Horeira from visits, as well as written and phone communication, with their family and lawyers. Their treatment violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.

We urge you to ensure that Aisha el-Shater, Mohamed Abo Horeira and others convicted in connection to the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms are immediately and unconditionally released and that their convictions and sentences are quashed as they stem solely from the peaceful exercise of their human rights or peaceful dissent. Pending their release, we call on you to ensure that they are provided with the means to regularly communicate with their family and lawyers and with access to adequate healthcare including outside prison.

Yours sincerely,


Appeals to

President Abdelfattah al-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace, Cairo,
Arab Republic of Egypt

Fax: +202 2391 1441

Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
→ Please also use the email of the ministry of foreign affairs as a back-up email because they are more active in responding and engaging with appeals, as well as the Egyptian embassy /diplomatic mission in the country where you are residing.


Copies to

Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights and International Social and Humanitarian Issues
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche el-Nile

Fax: +202 2574 9713
Twitter: @MfaEgypt


Botschaft der Arabischen Republik Ägypten
Elfenauweg 61
3006 Bern

Fax: 031 352 06 25
E-Mail: ; (



- - -

Letter delivery to other countries - General info:
It is possible to send PRIORITY letters to almost all countries.
Please check
on the Website of the Swiss Post, whether letters are currently being delivered to the destination country.
If not, we ask you to use other communication channels (email, fax or social media, if available) for the delivery of your appeal and/or send it via the embassy with the request for forwarding to the named person.

Response on your appeal/letter

It might be that you will receive a reply to your appeal letter. You do not have to answer to it by yourself, but we would be grateful if you would send us this letter. Ideally scanned by e-mail to We forward the replies to the relevant research team (via Amnesty's International Secretariat). The colleagues analyze the content and decide on how to proceed, which may be reflected in a Further information.

Incidentally, we do not fear any consequences for UA activists in Switzerland. However, it makes sense to consider not to wrtite a letter if you intend to travel to the country (or have family there). This applies above all to «problematic» and repressive countries. (Russia, Turkey, China, ...)

Social media


Please tag the President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi @alsisiofficial and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs @mfaegypt in Tweets.
President Abdelfatah al-Sisi Facebook: @AlSisiOfficial
Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Facebook: @MFAEEgyptEnglish

- - -

Suggested Tweets:

Following a grossly unfair trial, an emergency court sentenced married couple Aisha el-Shater & Mohamed Abo Horeira to 10 & 15 years in prison, respectively, for exercising their human rights. Urge @alsisiofficial to quash their unjust convictions & sentences & release them NOW. Heavy sentences against unjustly jailed couple ›

- - -

Unjustly jailed Aisha el-Shater is being denied adequate healthcare for serious health conditions & has been barred from family visits for over four years. Urge @alsisiofficial to free her NOW. Pending her release, she must be granted access to adequate healthcare & her family. Heavy sentences against unjustly jailed couple ›

- - -

Unjustly jailed lawyer Mohamed Abo Horeira is held incommunicado in Badr 3 prison, amid alarming reports of prisoner torture & other abuse. Urge @alsisiofficial to free him NOW. Pending his release, he must be granted access his family &lawyer.

- - -

Heavy sentences for jailed couple Aisha el-Shater & Mohamed Abo Horeira & 28 others simply for peacefully exercising their human rights expose once again the Egyptian authorities’ brutal repression of any peaceful dissent Egypt: Drop bogus case against Egyptian human rights group ›

9 Briefe verschickt  
My Urgent Actions
Fürs Mitzählen lassen Ihres Briefes und Update-Funktion zu nutzen müssen Sie sich
einloggen oder
UA 055/22-1 english
Microsoft Word Document, 42.6 kB
UA 055/22-1 deutsch
Microsoft Word Document, 43.7 kB
UA 055/22-1 français
Microsoft Word Document, 43.7 kB
Mehr zum Thema


Warum ist Folter immer falsch und nutzlos? Wie engagiert sich Amnesty für die Wahrung des absoluten Folterverbots? Mehr