Alone in a Cell: Release Hisham Gaafar

Journalist, Hisham Gafaar, is forced to sleep on the floor in an insect ridden cell, where he is being illegally held in prolonged solitary confinement. He is losing his eye sight and his health is deteriorating. Call on President Adbelfatah el-Sisi to immediately and unconditionally release Hisham Gaafar.

Hisham Gaafar is an Egyptian journalist, human rights defender, and a director of an NGO, which focuses on media studies.

In October 2015, police officers seized Hisham from his office in Cairo without an arrest warrant. He is being detained on trumped up charges of receiving funds from foreign agencies for “the purpose of harming national security” and belonging to “a banned group”. The Egyptian authorities have been using these charges against people who criticize the current government, including human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and students.

Since his arrest, he has been held in prolonged solitary confinement – which is illegal under Egyptian and international law. Hisham has exceeded the two-year maximum period of pre-trial detention allowed by Egyptian law.

Hisham’s family say his cell is infested by insects’ due to sewage leaks. There isn’t natural light or ventilation, and Hisham is forced to sleep on the floor, with no proper bedding or mattress.

Hisham’s health has detreated dramatically and he is in a lot of pain. He has optic nerve atrophy in both eyes - meaning he is losing his eye sight. He also has an enlarged prostate. He is not allowed regular exercise outside the cell. Occasionally, prison guards allow him to walk along the corridor of his ward, but he is usually confined to his room. This amounts to torture.

His detention keeps him separated from his wife, of almost 30 years, Manar.

“The detention of Hisham is destroying our family”  -Manar Tantawie, Hisham Gaafar's wife

Your signature could be the tipping point

The Egyptian authorities have been known to drop cases, especially when they feel that people around the world are watching. Your signature can help mount the pressure, and will support our ongoing work for human rights in Egypt.

Please sign now and share this petition as widely as you can. Your signatures have helped to release others, and they can help to release Hisham, too.

Call on President Adbelfatah el-Sisi to immediately and unconditionally release Hisham Gaafar and to end the illegal use of prolonged solitary confinement in Egypt.