The UK government has joined Canada, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands in expressing concern at the ongoing detention of Egyptian lawyer Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, who was detained at Cairo airport in September - on his way to address the UN Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances working group.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office statement today said: ‘We are concerned at the detention conditions that Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is reportedly enduring, and continue to call for transparency on prison conditions in Egypt. We call on the Egyptian authorities to ensure the freedom of civil society and the protection from torture that are enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution.’

According to human rights group Frontline Defenders, Hegazy is a co-founder and the coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared in Egypt, a network of individuals whose loved ones have been subjected to enforced or involuntary disappearances. His own son, Amr Ibrahim Metwally went missing in 2013.

The group says Hegazy is being held pending investigation on charges of establishing an illegal organization, communicating with foreign entities to harm state security and disseminating false news.

Hegazy was the attorney in the case of Giulio Regeni, an Italian national who died in Egypt under mysterious circumstances. Cairo has denied accusations that the student died in custody. However, officials have admitted that security services were monitoring Regeni, a University of Cambridge PhD student who was researching trade unions.