The governments of Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain have expressed "concern" to Egypt over the case of a detained human rights lawyer.

In a rare public joint statement Friday, the countries urged Egyptian authorities "to ensure the freedom of civil society and the protection from torture that are enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution," regarding the case of Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy.

Metwally, a prominent rights lawyer who focused on the issue of forced disappearances, was himself arrested in secret on Sept. 10 at Cairo airport on his way to a U.N. meeting on the topic. Authorities only acknowledged his detention days later, and he remains in custody on charges of "spreading false news."

Metwally's son disappeared during clashes at an Islamist protest in 2013.