The family of Shaykh Abdu Salaam Jad Bassiouni says they feel hopeless as he continues to languish in a Cairo prison.
Shaykh Bassiouni who travelled to Egypt to attend his daughter’s wedding in December 2014, was detained on entry and subsequently imprisoned.
Shaykh Bassiouni, who is a dual citizen of South Africa and Egypt, has been imprisoned for more than one year with no charges made against him.
Bilal Bassiouni, the son of Shaykh Bassiouni, regrettably expressed that there has been no new developments in the case within the past one and a half years.
Bassiouni’s father was allowed to leave prison for his daughter’s wedding. Coincidently, this is the same wedding for which he travelled to Egypt.
“In December 2015, my father had applied to attend my sister’s wedding, and to our surprise the application was successful,” Bassiouni confirmed.
Shaykh Bassiouni attended his daughter’s wedding in handcuffs, whilst being escorted by heavy artillery and police. He spent approximately an hour at the ceremony under the guard of many police officials, including the police commissioner of the province.
Photos of the event have been uploaded onto the Free Bassiouni page.
Bassiouni indicated that no physical contact was permitted between his father and wedding guests.
The Shaykh was permitted to greet guests. However, no discussion about the case was allowed.
Bassiouni confirmed that his father’s psychological state is intact.
“But from appearance my father seems to have lost about 25 kg,” Bassiouni added.
Shaykh Bassiouni suffers from a severe back injury. An x-ray performed in Egypt showed that two vertebras’ were fractured in his lower back. The injury has not been treated as yet and has worsened due him having to sleep on the ground for the past 390 days or more.
“Our worry is on his health and the burden that [the imprisonment] has placed on his health,” Bassiouni stated.
Bassiouni’s father only met with embassy officials in October 2015, almost a year after being imprisoned.
“We have been working very closely with the embassy in Egypt. But what authority do they [the embassy] have to speak on behalf of the South African Government?” asked Bassiouni.
Bassiouni is pleading to the South African government to acknowledge what he called “injustice”.
“Due to our history in South Africa, we have a full understanding of what arbitrary detention is and what administrative detention is. We are asking the south African government to act accordingly,” Bassiouni asserted.
The biggest predicament, Bassiouni asserts is the lack of political will by the South African government in finding a solution to end the unjust imprisonment of his father, a citizen of South Africa.
“400 days of arbitrary detention is 400 days too much,” stressed Bassiouni.
Bassiouni questions whether his father’s ethnicity impacts the South African Governments role in the case. A factor that is negated by the constitution of the country. The government is, therefore, liable to protect any South African, irrespective of their ethnic origin.
“I draw parallels with the South African citizens that were detained in China, and I ask myself, why isn’t my father awarded the same type of enthusiasm and professionalism when it comes to dealing with this matter?” Bassiouni concluded.