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Daughter of Egyptian cleric Qaradawi 'released' after two years in solitary confinement

The daughter of Sheikh Qaradawi was arrested less than a month into the Gulf crisis[HRW]

Date of publication: 3 July, 2019

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After two years in detention, sources are claiming the Egyptian authorities have ordered the release of Ola al-Qaradawi, daughter of Qatar-based cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

The daughter of Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been released from a Cairo after two years' detention, website Arabi21 has reported.

The Egyptian regime sentenced the Qatar-based cleric to life in prison in absentia and had been holding his daughter in solitary confinement for two years.

Ola's daughter Ayat said her parents had been held for two years in pre-trial detention without seeing evidence or official charges and kept in solitary confinement. 

She spent her 58th birthday "isolated from the world", her daughter added.

Both Ola and her husband Hosam were arrested in Egypt on 30 June 2017. Ola was Egypt's longest-standing female political prisoner in solitary confinement.

According to Egyptian law, those detained can only be held in pre-trial for up to two years. Detention periods are often extended despite the law.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has accused Cairo of holding his daughter in revenge over a regional feud with Qatar.

"Why has this happened? Because she is my daughter and has Qatari nationality? This must be revenge against me and Qatar by attacking a weak point," the Doha-based cleric said.

Ola's arrest came less than a month into the Gulf crisis, when in 2017 Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar, accused Doha of backing terrorism, and imposed punitive measures against the Gulf state. 

Egyptian authorities have accused al-Qaradawi of perpetrating a range of crimes - including murder and theft - after Egypt's 2013 military coup, prompting Interpol to issue a warrant for his arrest. This warrant has now been dropped.

The cleric - a vocal critic of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi - has been considered the spiritual guide of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamist movement has been heavily suppressed since the military coup against Egypt's first freely-elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who died in prison last month.

Egyptian authorities have killed and arrested thousands of the group's members, supporters and suspected sympathisers since Morsi's overthrow.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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