2015-06-08 19:36

Sheikh Abdelsalam Jad Bassiouni (“Sheikh Bassiouni”) requires no introduction, but for those who do not know who Sheikh Bassiouni is, he is a South African based scholar of Egyptian descent who is currently being unlawfully detained at the Tora prison in Cairo. Sheikh Bassiouni is known for his widespread work for the past twenty years in the upliftment of previously disadvantage communities in South Africa. He has diligently served the poor and disadvantaged amongst us, ensuring the establishment of sustainable development and educational programmes for real economic and social transformation.

On 2 December 2014 Sheikh Bassiouni, together with his family travelled to Egypt for his daughter Al-Zahra’s engagement. Upon his arrival at the Cairo International Airport Sheikh Bassiouni as well as his Son Bilal Bassiouni (“Bilal”) were taken into custody by the Egyptian Authorities and interrogated by the State Security Officers regarding their Political Affiliations.

Bilal was released the following morning, however his father’s unlawful detention continued and he was transferred to the Tora Prison where he continues to remain unlawfully detained with little information being revealed as to the nature of his detention.

The scholar traveled to Egypt in full possession of a South African passport and Valid Visa. His arrest has left many baffled, with some reports indicating that Egyptian authorities suspect Sheikh Bassiouni of being a supporter of the deposed and banned Muslim Brotherhood, which is contested and denied.

The 64 year old husband, father, author and well respected scholar is an innocent man being deprived of his right to liberty and has to date, not been charged with any offence. The Director-General at the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation’s (“DIRCO”) spokesperson, Clayson Monyela (“Monyela”), has confirmed that there has been no charge sheet or proof of charges handed over to local authorities and that the Egyptian Government and Presidency has refused access to Sheikh Bassiouni.

Despite letters of appeal and demand to the Presidency, the Director-General in the Presidency, the International Relations Minister, DIRCO, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, and the State Attorney, no proactive steps have been taken by the South African Government in assisting and procuring the immediate release of Sheikh Bassiouni, one of their very own Citizens.

Monyela, has merely stated that, as Bassiouni has both Egyptian and South African citizenship, and he was arrested as an Egyptian Citizen, there is little they can do to help and “their hands are tied.”

It is alleged that Sheikh Bassiouni, apart from chronic diabetes, is suffering from a herniated disk as a result of an injury sustained in prison and has been offered no medical attention at Tora prison. His health is deteriorating and his continued unlawful incarceration has done little to improve his condition.

I implore each and every person who hasn’t already been touched by Sheikh Bassiouni, through his story and/ or his good work, to join the campaign in ensuring the immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Bassiouni, and restoring his Right to Liberty which has been unlawfully snatched from him by the Sisi Regime on bogus and unfounded assumptions.

"The ultimate tragedy is not the Oppression and Cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people - Martin Luther King, Jr."

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