Wife of imprisoned aide to Egypt’s Mursi brings case to U.N.

Sarah Attia at a rally in Mississauga, Canada calling for her husband's release, June 30, 2014.

Sarah Attia at a rally in Mississauga, Canada calling for her husband’s release, June 30, 2014.

The wife of the former aide of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi is raising her husband’s detention to the United Nations, Al Ahram Online reported.

Canadian Sarah Attia is scheduled to meet with aides to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in addition to independent U.N. investigators.

In April, a U.N. panel of experts found the detention of her husband, Khaled al-Qazzaz, unlawful and called on Egyptian authorities to release him and the other held Mursi aides.

Qazzaz was arrested on July 13 in 2013, in addition to then president Mursi and eight other senior aides.

“On July 3, 2013, the day of the military coup, which happened to be his 34th birthday as well, my four children and I waited for him to come home and he didn’t. Basically, he was kidnapped,” Attia said.

According to his wife, Qazzaz has been in solitary confinement for more than 400 days, without any charges being pressed against him.

“His only crime is that he was a civil servant at his workplace at the time of the coup,” she said.

Attia obtained a copy of an MRI report administered in the prison where her husband is held showing “six vertebrae in his neck have suffered damage,” which she said had led to numbness in his limbs.

“My husband’s health is deteriorating very quickly because of the poor conditions … He has lost mobility in his left arm because of a problem he developed in the nerves of his neck,” Attia told Al Ahram Online.

She has obtained a copy of an MRI report done in prison that she said shows that “six vertebrae in his neck have suffered damage” that has led to numbness in his limbs.

The report also showed that Qazzaz required “immediate” surgery or else they face the risk of a permanent disability, “so I am very, very concerned,”

On whether she believed the deteriorating health of her husband was a result of mistreatment, Attia said “I’m not aware of any physical torture other than the solitary confinement, which many human rights organizations consider as torture.”

Amnesty International called on Egyptian authorities to release Qazzaz or charge him with a criminal offense and be granted a fair trial, Ahram Online said.

The international rights group also condemned the arrest of Qazzaz’s father who the group believes to have been “targeted because of his son.”

Qazzaz’s elderly father was released in June following 8 months in prison during which he survived two heart attacks.


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