Egyptian activist Tarek 'Tito' acquitted in Muslim Brotherhood guidance bureau case

Tuesday 29-03-2016 07:23 PM

Tarek 'Tito' and his brother Mahmoud Mohamed after Mahmoud's release, Mar. 25, 2016/ ASWATMASRIYA/ Mohamed al-Raai

Photographer Mohamed al-Raai

CAIRO, Mar 29 (Aswat Masriya) – Egyptian activist Tarek Hussein, whose brother was detained for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt, was acquitted Tuesday a week after his brother's release. 

Tarek's 20-year-old brother, Mahmoud Mohamed Hussein, was just released on bail last week after more than two years in pre-trial detention for wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words "nation without torture".

Tarek Hussein, known as Tito, had been sentenced in absentia to three years for using violence and terrorising citizens in front of the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau in Moqattam, eastern Cairo, in 2013 when then-President Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood was still in office. Mursi was ousted by the military in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The case dates back to clashes that erupted at the Brotherhood headquarters in March 2013 after a protest took place, leading to "random arrests", Tarek told Aswat Masriya.

"Lifting injustice is not justice," Tarek said, commenting on the acquittal, adding that there are thousands of detainees in pre-trial detention who deserve to be released.

In a notable contradiction, Tito has been arrested twice since the January 2011 Uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year presidency: once under Mursi and another during the rule of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Mursi's ouster when he was the country's defence minister. In 2013, Tito was accused of plotting against the regime, and in 2014, he was accused of belonging to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Tarek was also acquitted of all charges in the other case; therefore he is currently clear of any charges or sentences. He is also a member of the rights and freedoms committee in the Egyptian Dostour (constitution) Party, which was founded after the 2011 Uprising.

Meanwhile, his brother Mahmoud was arrested on the third anniversary of the January 2011 Uprising. He was accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation, possessing explosives and inciting violence. 

Solidarity initiatives in support of the Mahmoud continued until the moment of his release. Amnesty International had launched a campaign calling for his immediate release, and described him as a "prisoner of conscience detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly."

For the past two years, Tito has been campaigning for his brother's release. In a video by The Guardian, Tito said that Mohamed was tortured in custody upon his arrest by state security officials.

According to Egyptian law, pre-trial detention is limited to two years. Mohamed remained in detention for 700 days, thereby exceeding the pre-trial detention limit. His detention was considered by his lawyers to be part of a wider security crackdown on activists and protesters.

Tarek added that many activists associated with the 2011 Uprising, including activist Maheinour al-Masry and journalist Youssef Shaaban, are serving prison sentences on cases that date back to the Brotherhood regime.

"Is the state in confrontation with the January 25 Uprising?" Tarek said as he questioned the reason behind the reopening of cases from the Brotherhood era, which include prominent activists and figures.

Activist and human rights lawyer Masry is serving one year and three months in prison after being brought to trial for an incident which took place in March 2013.  

Lawyer Mokhtar Mounir previously told Aswat Masriya that an increasing number of people have faced prolonged pre-trial detention over the past two years, and added that detention was being used more as a "means of punishment" rather than a precautionary measure as had been intended by the law.

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