Hazem Hamouda with daughter Lamisse.
Hazem Hamouda with daughter Lamisse.

Queensland man missing in Egypt after release

THE family of a Brisbane man who has vanished after being locked up in Egypt for a year say they are "beyond crushed".

Hazem Hamouda, 54, of Kuraby, landed in Cairo on January 25 last year for a family holiday but was detained at the airport.

Left to rot in Egypt's notorious Tora prison on "bizarre" allegations of sympathising with a terrorist group, Hamouda's family suddenly got word he would be released this week.

But the dual Australian and Egyptian citizen was never brought to the appointed police station for release and has since disappeared. Egyptians authorities have failed to provide any information to his family or legal team.

His daughter Lamisse said the her long suffering family was distraught.

"We were so excited when the Department of Foreign Affairs contacted us to tell us dad would be released with all charges dropped," she said.

"So when dad wasn't at the police station and no-one knew where he was, we were beyond crushed.

"To think he has been disappeared after believing he was going to come home is a nightmare inside the nightmare we've already lived for the past year."

 

Hazem Hamouda’s wife Evelyn (right) with children Harun and Saja and his mother Zenab Ellathy are living a nightmare. (AAP image, John Gass)
Hazem Hamouda’s wife Evelyn (right) with children Harun and Saja and his mother Zenab Ellathy are living a nightmare. (AAP image, John Gass)

 

High profile human rights lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, who has previously defended Julian Assange, said her client's disappearance raised "grave concerns for his safety and security".

 

Mr Hamouda’s Lawyer Jennifer Robinson.
Mr Hamouda’s Lawyer Jennifer Robinson.

 

"Mr Hamouda has already been unjustly and arbitrarily detained for over a year. There is no lawful basis for his continued detention," she said.

"We call upon Egypt to provide information about his whereabouts and to ensure his immediate release."

Australian journalist Peter Greste, who spent 400 days imprisoned in Egypt on trumped up charges, said he was "incredibly worried" by the news.

"After more than a year in prison with no obvious evidence of wrongdoing, Hazem's detention was a travesty of justice from the outset," he said.

"This latest development is not only an additional torment for the family and undoubtedly for Hazem himself, but it also confirms what we have always believed - that these kinds of actions by individuals within Egypt's judicial system seem to be untethered from any common understanding of justice, and so the judiciary and its work cannot be treated with respect."

 

Peter Greste was imprisoned under false pretences in Egypt for 400 days. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE.
Peter Greste was imprisoned under false pretences in Egypt for 400 days. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE.

 

Mr Greste has called on Egypt's Interior Ministry to release Mr Hamouda immediately urged the Australian Government to intervene.

Mr Hamouda's legal team have filed urgent appeals with the United Nations calling for information about his whereabouts and for his immediate release.



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