PEN Issues Statement of Concern for Health of Imprisoned Egyptian Writer

PEN International issued a release stating the organization was “deeply concerned about the health conditions of Ibrahim al-Husseini,” an Egyptian writer who has been detained since December 9, 2018, apparently for social-media posts that allegedly “incite protest”:

Al-Husseini was arrested from his Cairo home, where, according to his family, security officials seized “his mobile phone, my mum[‘s] phone and gadgets, pc and books from the house.” His daughter, Samar Alhusseiny, posted on Facebook that: “They told my mum they will question his about his social media posts. We have no information about his whereabouts and the police station that he was in yesterday denying any knowledge about his existence there.”

Al-Husseini, who is 63, suffers from a number of serious health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

On January 5, al-Husseini’s pre-trial detention was renewed for an additional 15 days on a charge of “inciting a demonstration.”

In their most recent statement, PEN International writes:

PEN believes that the charge against al-Husseini is politically motivated, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release, and for him to be provided with adequate medical care. We also call on the Egyptian authorities to free all those held solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and association.

Mada Masr had earlier reported:

Family concern for Husseini’s disappearance has been heightened due to the various health issues he suffers from — including high blood pressure, diabetes and blood clotting — a source close to Husseini told Mada Masr. The source added that he had returned from a doctor’s appointment just before his arrest, and was unable to walk.

The source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, explained that Ibrahim has written and published several politically themed collections of short stories and poetry.

Al-Husseini is a columnist and short-story writer whose most recent collection, Night, was published by the Supreme Council for Culture in Egypt.

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