Yesterday Ola Al-Qaradawi was transported from her solitary confinement cell in Al Qanater prison to a criminal court located in the police academy in the Torah prison complex. Today her husband Hosam Khalaf was similarly brought from his cell in Torah prison to the same criminal court for his detainment extension. The judge ruled to extend both of them for another 45 days.
Ironically Ola’s hearing was scheduled on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Ola’s solitary confinement is the worst kind of psychological torture and abuse. It is uncommon in Egypt that a woman, especially an elderly woman and grandmother, who has not been charged is held in solitary confinement. It is almost unprecedented that a woman be placed in solitary confinement for 148 days. The New York Times has said that “Ola al-Qaradawi is being subjected to harsh treatment even by the grim standards of Egyptian prisons.”
Ola was brought into the courtroom and placed into a glass cage. Her lawyer was prevented from speaking to her and Ola was not allowed to speak and raise concerns about her medical situation and her continued detention. Hosam was subject to the same treatment today.
Ola’s lawyer explained to the judge that Ola is only the woman in this pretrial investigative case she is listed under. He raised concerns that she is being detained simply for being the daughter of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qardawi and that she is paying the cost of a regional conflict between Egypt and Qatar which she has no relationship to. He also indicated to the judge that the accusations against her and Hosam are political and fabricated, there is no evidence, and that her imprisonment is contrary to all legal norms.
Despite this, the judge decided to renew the detention of a 55-year-old woman, a woman suffering daily from deteriorating medical conditions and subjected to extreme solitary confinement since her arrest on June 30 2017.
Visits from family and lawyers continued to be denied. This means that Ola will spend another 45 days in isolation without any human contact in a solitary confinement cell and no one will know her medical conditions, let alone if she is alive.
This week Ola and Hosam’s children and grandchildren spent Thanksgiving without their loved ones and they continue to pray for their health, safety, and freedom.
Our family calls on Egyptian authorities to bring an end to this arbitrary detainment and reunite Ola and Hosam with their loved ones. We call on the international community and human rights organizations to advocate for their freedom.
For more information: