Egypt: Ahmed Douma, 10 years of arbitrary detention

© Selim Blk / Unsplash

Over 900 individuals and Rights groups renew their call for his immediate release.

On 3 December 2022, Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma entered his 10th year in arbitrary detention. The undersigned individuals, groups and organizations urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Douma and all those arbitrarily detained in Egypt.

Douma is an Egyptian poet, writer and activist who has been targeted due to his political activism and leading role in the 25 January 2011 revolution, as well as his vocal criticism of successive Egyptian governments. Over his prolonged years in prison and through severe restrictions, Douma has kept writing about his experiences, dreams, and aspirations in his poetry. His poetry collection “Curly” was printed and published during the 2021 Cairo International Book Fair. However, security officials forced the publishing house to take Douma’s poetry collection down.

Security forces first arrested Douma, then aged 25, on 12 January 2012 in relation to his participation in the “Cabinet Offices” sit-in. He was released after three months, but re-arrested on 3 December 2013 amid a wave of arrests after enactment of the draconian protest law (Law No. 107/2013) restricting the right to peaceful assembly. Throughout his detention he has been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including deliberate denial of access to medical care, and he was held in solitary confinement for four years and eight months in total for prolonged periods of time, between December 2013 until January 2020. Douma suffers from severe pain in different parts of his body as a result of being confined to his cell for more than 22 hours a day in poor prison conditions. He has knee and back pain resulting from the lack of movement and the failure to provide him with a bed, and sometimes even a mattress, in his solitary confinement cell. He also suffers from high blood pressure, insomnia, constant headaches, severe depression, and panic attacks.

In February 2015, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in relation to his participation in anti-government protests following a grossly unfair and politically motivated trial intended to punish him for his activism. In July 2020, the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court, upheld his conviction and sentence. As a result, the only avenue for him to be released is through a presidential pardon. On 26 April 2022, the Egyptian President announced “reactivating the work of the Presidential Pardon Committee”.

Douma’s family has submitted several requests for a presidential pardon, and have again renewed their call on the Egyptian President to reconsider the case and issue a presidential pardon, in particular in light of his deteriorating mental and physical health. To date, however, the Pardon Committee has not announced that it is considering Douma’s case.

In 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) found that Ahmed Douma’s detention was arbitrary as it stemmed solely from his peaceful exercise of his human rights, and followed criminal proceedings that failed to meet fair trial standards. The UNWGAD called for his immediate release and an enforceable right to remedy. The Egyptian authorities have disregarded these calls.

Most recently, on 24 November 2022, the European Parliament urged the Egyptian authorities to immediately release those unjustly detained in Egypt including Douma. Ahead of COP27, more than 1400 organizations, groups and individuals, including parliamentarians, from across the world called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those held simply for exercising their human rights, and for the implementation of criteria set by local NGOs for these releases, namely, fairness, transparency, inclusiveness, and urgency.

We reiterate these calls and urge Egypt to implement them without delay.


Organizations and groups:

  1. African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

  2. Amnesty International

  3. Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)

  4. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

  5. Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia


  7. Committe for Justice

  8. Democracy for the Arab World Now ( DAWN )

  9. Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR)

  10. Egyptian Human Rights Forum ( EHRF)

  11. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

  12. EgyptWide for Human Rights

  13. El Nadim Center

  14. English PEN

  15. EuroMed Rights

  16. Friends of the Earth Scotland

  17. Global Justice Now

  18. HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement

  19. Instituto de Referência Negra Peregum

  20. Instituto Internacional de Educacao do Brasil

  21. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

  22. International Federation for Human Rights

  23. International helping for young

  24. International Service for Human Rights

  25. International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

  26. Ipswich Amnesty group

  27. MENA Rights Group

  28. PEN International

  29. Plataforma CIPÓ

  30. Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

  31. Sinai Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR)

  32. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF)

  33. The Freedom Initiative

  34. US Committee to End Political Repression in Egypt

  35. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

  36. حزب العيش والحرية (تحت التأسيس)


  1. Anne and Neil Knott

  2. annette gore

  3. Astrid Laich, personal

  4. Barney Green

  5. Bert Giskes

  6. Carolina Lebesmühlbacher

  7. Cassandra Smithies, artist

  8. Christina Isherwood

  9. David Johnson

  10. Doug Seidman

  11. Dr Matthew Lumley

  12. Dr Viviane BALADI

  13. Dr. Peter Oppenheimer Ed.D.

  14. Dr. Zoe Gardner

  15. EJ Brittin

  16. Elemide oyebola


  18. Ellen Sansone

  19. Fraser Harrison

  20. helen cook

  21. James Mulcare

  22. Jean-Maurice Salomon

  23. Kathy Bradley

  24. Laila Soueif, assistant professor, Cairo U.

  25. Lily Nemirovsky

  26. M. Áine Kelly-Costello

  27. Mahienour El-Massry ماهينور المصري

  28. Michele Dunne

  29. Miss I.Huddleston

  30. Mohammad Haque

  31. Mounir Satouri

  32. Mr C Preston

  33. Mr Michael Shaw

  34. Mr Peter Cauwenberghs

  35. Mr Sean Hall

  36. Mr Stephen Branscombe

  37. Mr. AHM Badr

  38. Mr. Alan Paul

  39. Mr. Johnny Badr

  40. Mrs Kate Prasher

  41. Mrs. Pauline Bentley

  42. Ms Allison Rensch

  43. Ms Elena Cal

  44. Ms H Martin

  45. Nagwa Farid Naguib

  46. Ola Shahba

  47. Ossis

  48. Patricia Hackbarth

  49. Patricia Hackbarth

  50. Pete Klosterman

  51. Pete Yorke

  52. Philippe Dehalu

  53. Pieter Jansen

  54. R Lloyd-Jones

  55. Ragia Omran

  56. Ramy Shaath, HRD

  57. Rosemary Cleary

  58. Ruben Vanholme

  59. Rufus Rune, activist, Scout leader, Confirmation leader, Student

  60. Salma El Hosseiny, human rights defender

  61. scott barden

  62. Solafa Magdy, Journalist/ WHRD

  63. Stephen Oren

  64. Yves Lador, Consultant

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