The Egyptian parliament is currently drafting a bill to amend a provision of the country's criminal code that allows for a pretrial detention of up to two years. The proposed draft law would put a six-month ceiling on pretrial detention, slashing the current legal limit to a quarter of the period permitted by the current law.
Public debate on what rights activists say is a much-needed amendment was sparked by the acquittal in mid-April of dual US-Egyptian citizen and founder of the Belady Foundation Aya Hegazy, her husband Mohamed Hassanein and six co-defendants in the notorious Belady Foundation case. They spent three years in pretrial detention after their arrest on May 1, 2014, in a police raid on their nongovernmental organization, which provided shelter and services for Cairo’s street children. They were charged with operating an unlicensed organization, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children and inciting anti-government protests.