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Bassiouni’s health worsening, says son

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Egyptian South African scholar Shaykh Abdus-Salaam Bassiouni is reportedly still struggling with immense back pain as he remains unjustly imprisoned in Cairo. Bassiouni’s son Bilaal told VOC News that his 65 year old father is in need of back surgery after suffering with pain for nine months and sleeping on the prison floor, before receiving any medical care.

“My father’s back got worse when he was forced to sleep on the floor in prison,” Bilal explained.

Efforts to fight for Bassiouni’s release have yielded few results. Earlier this year the Legal Resource Centre said they would be assisting the family through the legal processes to have Bassiouni released. However, Bilal added that the Egyptian government has given very little information on why they are in fact holding Bassiouni without a trial.

“We are working very hard to secure my father’s release. Right up to this stage nothing has materialised from our efforts. My father’s health continues to deteriorate. He now has difficulty walking and moving around,” Bilal added.

Bassiouni remains detained in a Torah prison since December 2014 on suspicion for being a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He has spent the last decade living in South Africa teaching at his Islamic institution but often travelled to Egypt to visit family.

Bilal added that very little information has been brought forward with regards to the extent of the charges against Bassiouni.

“The Legal Resource Centre is also exploring different avenues with the African Commission of Human Rights. They have launched a complaint against Egypt at the Commission for violating my father’s human rights. Nothing is clear at this point. We don’t even know if my father has a chart sheet.”

The Bassiouni family say they have reached a state of complete frustration with the situation as the Islamic scholar approaches nine months behind bars.

“My father is the back bone of the family. This entire situation is extremely overwhelming. I really can’t comprehend how nine months can go by and still nothing has changed. My father remains imprisoned without charge. This is against our basic human rights,” Bilal stressed. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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