Verdict against Khaled Ali adjourned
An appeals court adjourned the sentence for human rights lawyer and opposition candidate Khaled Ali until 7 March 2018. Ali received a three month prison sentence in September 2017 for allegedly making a rude hand gesture in front of a court, when celebrating a ruling on the maritime border demarcation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Prison sentence for Mahienour El-Massry for protesting
A misdemeanor court in Alexandria sentenced human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry to two years in prison, accused of illegally protesting against the government’s decision to hand the islands of Tiran and Sanafir over to Saudi Arabia. El-Massry can appeal the sentence.
The court sentenced other four activists, three of them in absentia, handing them three- and four-year sentences on the same charges.
Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah fined for insulting the judiciary
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced various activists, including imprisoned blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and political scientist Amr Hamzawy, to pay EGP 30,000 for criticising the judiciary in comments that they would have posted on social media. The court trialed a total of 25 defendants, and condemned 14 of them to three years in prison.
In a different case, journalist Ismail Al-Iskandarani was referred to the military prosecution after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention for allegedly spreading false news, among other charges, reporting about human rights violations in the Sinai.
Check out our 5 last newsletters
Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy
in prison for 129 daysmore info
Hanan Badr el-Din
in prison for 254 daysmore info
Alaa Abdel Fattah
in prison for 1002 daysmore info
in prison for 780 daysmore info
Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan)
in prison for 1617 daysmore info
in prison for 819 daysmore info
Esraa Abdel Fattah
Negad El Borai
Abdel Hafez Tayel
Aida Seif Al-Dawla
Hoda Abd El-Wahab
Hossam Al-Din Ali
Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy
in prison for 129 days
Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is a human rights lawyer and the co-founder and coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared. Metwally represents families of people forcibly disappeared by the Egyptian state and has been reported to provide legal advice to the family of Giulio Regeni, the Italian Cambridge university student who disappeared on 25 January 2016 and whose lifeless body was found bearing signs of extreme torture.
Metwally was detained on 10 September 2017 at Cairo International airport right before travelling to Geneva to attend a session of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID) to which he was invited. Metwally is being suspected of founding and leading an organisation that was created illegally. He is currently being held in the notorious al-aqrab (scorpion) prison, part of the Tora maximum security compound, where he remains in pre-trial detention.Take Action
Hanan Badr el-Din
in prison for 254 days
Hanan Badr el-Din is an Egyptian human rights defender and the co-founder of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared. Badr el-Din became a human rights defender when her husband Khalid Mohamed Hafez Ezz el-Din forcibly disappeared whilst attending a protest in 2013. During her search for information on her husband’s disappearance, Hanan encountered numerous people who had been confronted with enforced disappearance of relatives as well. Her encounters with the families of the victims led to the establishment of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared in response to the rapid increase of the number of enforced disappearances at the hands of the Egyptian government.
Hanan was arrested on 6 May 2017 when she was visiting a victim of forced disappearance in the Qanatar Prison north of Cairo as she was collecting information on the disappearance of her husband. After the visit, Hanan’s personal belongings were confiscated, including handwritten note with information about her husband's whereabouts. Shortly after, prison officials detained her and accused her of smuggling papers and banned objects into the prison. She was detained for 3 hours and thereafter interrogated by the National Security Agency (NSA) without a lawyer. On 8 May a NSA report claimed that Hanan was a member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Prosecutors ordered her preventative detention for 15 days on that same day to investigate the case further. Her detention continues being renewed ever since.Take Action
Alaa Abdel Fattah
in prison for 1002 days
Alaa Abdel Fattah is an Egyptian activist born in 1981. As a Free Open Source Software developer and human rights activist, he has been at the forefront of the struggle for change in Egypt for many years, working relentlessly for the “bread, freedom and social justice” called for by the 2011 revolution. As a result, he has the unfortunate distinction of having been arrested not only by Mubarak but also all the different regimes that have ruled Egypt since the 2011 revolution.
Alaa is currently serving a five-year sentence for “organising a protest” against military trials for civilians in front of the Shura Council. This case, monitored and considered an unfair trial by EuroMed Rights, was challenged with an appeal in front of the Court of Cassation. The court delivered a final ruling on November 2017 upholding the five-year sentence. However, the verdict amended the rigorous conditions of his imprisonment: he will have to complete his term in a general population prison rather than a high-security prison. This will be followed by another five years of strict probation and a fine. Alaa is the only defendants in the Shura council case that has not been released, as all the others received a presidential pardon.
Since being in prison for his current sentence, Alaa’s father, renowned human rights and constitutional lawyer, Ahmad Seif, has died at 60 and his younger sister, Sanaa, has been tried – also for protesting – and served 14 months of a two-year jail sentence.
Alaa faces, together with 24 other prominent human rights defenders - including Amr Hamzawy, a second case for tweets allegedly questioning Egypt’s judiciary independence. The first hearing is expected to take place in December 2017.
Follow the campaign for his release on Facebook.Take Action
in prison for 780 days
Ismail Al-Iskandarani is a researcher and journalist who was detained upon his return to Egypt from Germany on 29 November 2015.
After having been held for more than ten hours at the airport, he was later moved to State Security Prosecution after the authorities searched his laptop and found articles he wrote on Sinai and other political issues. He was interrogated on charges of belonging to an illegal group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and spreading its ideas, in addition to intentionally disseminating false information
Mr Iskandarani is one of very few well-informed journalists and researchers to have published extensively on the political, security and human rights situation in the Sinai Peninsula. In that context, he has provided rare and credible analysis on the conditions endured by the civilian population of North Sinai, an area where a sweeping counter-insurgency operation is being implemented by the military.
After spending more than two years in pre-trial detention, Mr Iskandarani was referred to a military court in December 2017.
Read more on his blog (in Arabic) about Sinai and this petition for his release.
Ismail al-Iskandarani is an associate researcher with the Arab Reform Initiative, and was a guest researcher at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.Take Action
Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan)
in prison for 1617 days
Mahmoud is an Egyptian photojournalist who was arrested along with two other journalists while he was taking pictures of the August 14, 2013 Rabaa massacre.
He has spent four years in pre-trial detention, but it was only on 26 March 2016 that he was charged with nine offences, including murder which puts him at risk of the death penalty.
In one of the last court session of his trial that took place on 27 December 2016, the judge read out a report by the Tora prison doctor, which stated that Shawkan was in good health. This contradicts claims by Shawkan’s family that he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C before his arrest on 14 August 2013.
Shawkan have accused prison authorities of physical abuse and prevention of access to medicines and personal hygiene products. In the meantime, the ongoing trial had been systematically adjourned, pending a report on videos documenting the violent dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-in in August 2013, and a response from Egypt’s Central Security Agency.
It is worth noting that so far, no evidence has been presented to establish that Mahmoud Abu Zeid is responsible for the offences with which he is charged and his camera has not been used as evidence which makes his status as a prisoner ambiguous.
In the letter he wrote in May 2015, marking 600 days in pre-trial detention, Shawkan narrates the hardships of his conditions in prison: "Tora prison is like a cemetery. It is a place where dreams come to die".Take Action
in prison for 819 days
Mr Jaafar is the director of the Mada Foundation for Media Development and a member of the Journalists’ Syndicate. He was arrested when security forces stormed the headquarters of Mada on 21 October 2015. He was interrogated by the state security prosecution and his lawyers were barred from attending the interrogation. He is accused of receiving illegal foreign funding and belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jaafar's pre-trial detention has been systematically renewed for periods of 45 days, pending investigations in case 720/2015. He has spent most of his time in prision in al-Aqrab/Scorpion, the maximum-security wing of the Tora prison compound.
In October 2017, Jaafar will have spent two years in the Scorpion prison in pre-trial detention, which is the maximum period allowed by the law. International human rights organisations have highlighted his deteriorating health conditions as he lacks sufficient medical treatment.
On 26 October 2017, a Cairo criminal court renewed Hisham’s detention for an additional 45 days. In response to the extension of his detention, Hisham has announced he will go on a hunger strike.Take Action
Dr. Suzanne Fayyad, co-founder of Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, was banned from travel in the morning of 18 October by Cairo airport authorities. She was informed the ban was ordered by the investigative magistrate as she was boarding a flight to Tunisia to attend a conference on the rehabilitation of child torture victims. At this moment, the reason for Suzan’s travel ban is not clear. The incident could be related to the NGO foreign funding case, a case that has triggered investigations into several NGOs resulting in travel bans for several high profile human rights defenders.Take Action
Azza Soliman is a prominent lawyer and the founder of the Center for Women's Legal Assistance (CEWLA). She is currently serving on its board of trustees. CEWLA is a feminist organisation that campaigns to promote gender equality, focusing in particular on legislative reform and awareness-raising.
In November 2016, Azza Soliman’s personal bank account and that of her law firm, Lawyers for Justice and Peace, were frozen by instruction of the Central Bank. Shortly after that, when trying to flight to Jordan to participate in a training on human rights, she was notified that she was banned from travelling.
In December 2016, she was arrested from her home and escorted to the police station by security forces. She was later transferred to the New Cairo court where she was interrogated by the investigative judge of case no 173, known as the foreign funding case. Released on bail in the evening, she is nevertheless currently under investigation, charged with tax evasion, receiving illegal foreign funding "with the aim of harming national security”, and founding an illegal entity.
In July 2017, two of her colleagues at the LJP, Seham Ali and Abeer Ali, were summoned for questioning by the investigative judge, accused of the same charges. Abeer could not attend the interrogation and Seham, who was reportedly asked about Azza’s activism, was released on bail.
Azza has appealed both the travel ban and the assets freeze decision, finding out that the general prosecutor’s list (the only legal list regarding travel bans) did not include her name and that, in consequence, the travel ban is illegal. However, sessions for both cases are systematically postponed, evidencing the length of the judicial procedure.
Azza Soliman was a witness to a murder of activist Shaimaa ElSabbagh, who was killed while peacefully protesting on 24 January 2015. Two months later, the Qasr El Nile Prosecution Office in Cairo changed Ms Soliman’s status from being a witness to the killing of Shaimaa ElSabbagh to a defendant, accused of protesting illegally. She was acquitted of the charges, which the prosecutor subsequently appealed.
Malek Adly is a prominent human rights lawyer and the director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), which seeks to promote and mobilise social movements to spread the culture of human rights.
He is one the founders of the Front for Defending Egypt's Protesters, a group comprising of 34 human rights organisations and several lawyers, which documents illegal practices carried out by state police forces against peaceful protesters.
Upon his arrest in Cairo’s Maadi district on 5 May 2016, Malek Adly was charged with attempting to overthrow the regime, accused of "inciting protests" rejecting the deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia over two Red Sea islands. He was transferred to Tora prison, where he was reportedly mistreated and beaten in detention, and denied family and lawyer visitation rights.
On 28 August 2016, he was released from prison after having spent nearly 4 months in pre-trial detention in solitary confinement. Although free, the case against him has not been dropped.
Additionally, in August 2017, Malek Adly was summoned for interrogation by the investigative judge in case 173/2011, known as the Foreign Funding case, accused of conducting activities with the purpose of "harming national security" as an employee at the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in 2010.
He is subject to a travel ban.
Esraa Abdel Fattah
Esraa Abdel Fattah is an Egyptian political activist. She advocates through digital media for human rights and in defence of youth protest movements in Egypt.
On 13 January 2015, Ms Abdel Fattah was prevented from boarding a flight to Germany as the police officers at the Cairo Airport informed her that a travel ban has been issued against her, without any prior notification. She filed a lawsuit to ask for the travel ban to be lifted, but in June 2015 the Cairo Administrative Court decided to uphold it. A decision that was upheld by the Criminal Court of South Cairo District in December 2015.
She has been under a travel ban for 23 months without any investigation or case file. The only information that she has received is that she is investigated as part of the case no 173/2011, known as the “foreign funding” case, in which leading Egyptian human rights defenders are targeted.
In 2008, Ms Abdel Fattah became known for co-founding the 6th of April movement during the mass protests against workers’ low wages and increasing food prices. She called for a day of civil disobedience on Facebook that mobilised thousands of young people asking for political change. She was imprisoned for several weeks by the Egyptian security for her role in organising the protest. During the 25th January uprising in 2011, she took a leading role in keeping the media updated about the situation on the ground.
She became a symbol of resistance and struggle for women human rights defenders and the youth movement in Egypt, which earned her international attention and recognition. Freedom House awarded her the “New Generation Democratic Activist” prize in 2010; she was nominated “Woman of the Year, 2011” by Glamour magazine and she was among the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize 2011.
Mozn Hassan is a woman human rights defender and the founder and executive director of Nazra for Feminist Studies (www.nazra.org) a feminist organisation working in Egypt and the MENA region on gender equality and combatting violence against women.
She was summoned to appear before a judge investigating what is known as the “foreign funding case” after her participation at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2016.
On June 2016, airport authorities in Cairo prevented her from travelling to Beirut, where she was supposed to participate in the executive committee meeting of the Women Human Rights Defenders Regional Coalition for the Middle East and North Africa, as a regional expert. This travel ban is a clear reprisal measure designed to silence her voice and to stop her from participating in international advocacy.
Ms Hassan also published several articles on the issue of sexual violence against women in the public space and women's political participation.
She is among the 2016 laureates for the Right Livelihood Award, but due to the ban, she has not been able to travel to receive the prize. In 2013, Ms Hassan has been awarded the inaugural Charlotte Bunch Human Rights Defender prize in at the Global Fund for Women’s 25th Anniversary. Ms Hassan is also a Board Member with the Global Fund for Women and the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), as well as a member of the Regional Experts' Committee of the Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).Take Action
Gamal Eid is a prominent human rights defender and executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Mr Eid founded ANHRI in 2004 with the aim of establishing an organisation to defend human rights in general, and freedom of expression in particular in Egypt and the Arab world through research and legal support to victims.
On 4 February 2016, Mr Eid was denied by Cairo Airport officials from boarding a flight to Athens. He had no prior knowledge, no notification or summon for investigation regarding the travel ban and didn’t receive any information about the judicial body responsible for it.
Mr Eid is a lawyer who graduated from `Ain Shams University College of Law and served as a defence attorney in several human rights cases during the Mubarak era.Take Action
Mohamed Zaree has been the Egypt Office Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) since 2014. He leads CIHRS’ research, human rights education, media outreach and national advocacy activities in Egypt. He also coordinates the Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights NGOs, created in 2007.
Since 2012, Mohammed Zaree has represented CIHRS in several official committees charged with drafting a new NGO law for Egypt. He has advocated for freedom of association with different Egyptian ministries under the presidencies of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mohammad Morsi and Adly Mansour.
On 26 May 2016, Mohamed Zaree was stopped at Cairo International Airport before boarding a flight for a business trip. The officers informed him that a travel ban had been imposed on him, based on an order by the investigative judge of the case no 173/2011, known as the “foreign funding case.”
Mohamed Zaree is a leading protagonist of Egypt’s human rights movement and remains the representative of CIHRS in Egypt. However, his personal safety and freedom are at risk due to the prosecution of the foreign funding case, which targets many human rights defenders in Egypt. As part of the repressive pre-trial measures, CIHRS’ assets were frozen on 17 September 2016.
In October 2017, Mohammed Zaree received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Zaree could not attend the ceremony as he remains banned from travelling. His wife and two daughters travelled to Geneva to receive the award on his behalf.Take Action
Negad El Borai
Negad El Borai is a prominent human rights lawyer and a well-known figure in Egypt’s civil society. He chairs the law firm United Group for Law, which provides legal support to civil society organisations and victims of human rights violations. The firm also engages in monitoring and documentation of human rights violations pertaining to freedom of expression and opinion, and conducts workshops to raise awareness on these issues.
In March 2015, the High Judicial Council filed a complaint against him for drafting a law for the prevention of torture in line with Egypt’s international commitments, organising a workshop for open discussion with other experts and advocating for its promulgation before the Egyptian authorities. Since then, he has been summoned on five occasions and arrested for “implementing human rights activities without a license”, “deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest” and “receiving illegal funds”.
In July 2017, an administrative court banned United Group from conducting human rights activities; endorsing the Social Affairs Ministry’s decision to prohibit the law firm’s recognition as a civil society group for purportedly violating the Law on associations and non-governmental organizations (Law 84/2002).
Negad El Borai is currently under a travel ban that hinders his peaceful work. The travel ban, based on the controversial foreign funding case, was notified to him in January 2017 as he attempted to attend a conference in Jordan.Take Action
Mr Ahmed Ragheb is a lawyer and founder of the National Community for Human Rights and Law (NCHRL). He works to promote and protect human rights through NCHRL and in his capacity as a lawyer.
On 15 November 2016, Mr Ahmed Ragheb was told by passport control officials at Cairo International Airport that he was banned from travelling based on a judicial order issued against him in May 2016 by an investigative judge, apparently in relation to the “foreign funding case” against NGOs. He was travelling to Morocco to participate in the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The order was issued without his knowledge and without known charges against him.Take Action
Abdel Hafez Tayel
Abdel Hafez Tayel is the founder of the Egyptian Center for the Right to Education, an organisation promoting human rights education in Egypt.
On 17 September 2016, the Cairo Criminal Court confirmed the order to freeze his personal assets based on an accusation of illegally receiving foreign funding. If found guilty, he can face up to 25 years of imprisonment.
In November 2016, Abdel Hafez Tayel was heading to Kuwait to attend an international conference on education when airport authorities detained him for several hours before ordering him to head home. He was banned from travelling.
In June 2017, Abdel Hafez Tayel was summoned for interrogation, formally charged and interrogated by the investigative judge in the "foreign funding case" against NGOs. Tayel is accussed of receiving foreign funding with the aim of harming national security, establishing the independent Teachers' Union in violation of the law, tax evasion and “moral fraud”.
Tayel has also been questioned about an article he wrote calling ex-President Mubarak a criminal.Take Action
Aida Seif Al-Dawla
One of the founders of Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, she was issued a travel ban on 23rd November 2016 on the basis of her involvement in an unspecified court case.
She had not received any prior notice of the ban from the public prosecutor, but an officer at the airport, where she was first stopped, suggested her lawyer gave the wrong address.
The Al-Nadeem Center’s rehabilitation clinic was threatened with closure in February 2016 following a dispute with the Health Ministry over the legality of the team's advocacy work against torture. The closure was executed a year later in 2017 and is currently being contested by the center in court.Take Action
Nasser Amin is the director of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession in Egypt, as well as the Chairman of the Complaints Committee of the quasi-official National Council for Human Rights. He has worked on cases of enforced disappearances and torture, which he has described as a systematic pattern.
On the 14 July 2016, he was prevented from travelling to Beirut for a conference by the security officers at Cairo International airport based on an order of the Public Prosecutor. The reason behind the travel ban was not stated by the authorities.
Hoda Abd El-Wahab
Hoda Abd El-Wahab is a lawyer and Executive Director of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, a regional organisation established in Cairo in March 1997
On 20 June 2016, she was travelling to Oslo to participate in an international conference on the death penalty when she was informed by officials at Cairo International Airport that a judicial order imposed a travel ban on her. Hoda Abd El-Wahab believes that this is related to case 173/2011, known as the foreign funding case against NGOs in Egypt, which was reopened in 2016. She was not formally notified of this order and has yet to be informed of any further action to be taken.Take Action
Hossam Al-Din Ali
On 27 February 2016, the director of the Egyptian Democratic Academy, Hossam Al-Din Ali, was stopped at Cairo International Airport and barred from travelling to the United States. He was on his way to an international conference on ways to fight corruption. He discovered his travel ban at Cairo international airport, as he had not been notified of it.Take Action
Hossam Bahgat is an Egyptian human rights defender and investigative journalist. He is the founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and a journalist for Mada Masr. He was arrested from 8 to 10 November 2015, summoned by military intelligence for ‘publishing false news that harmed national interests and disseminating information that disturbed public peace’. He had written a series of articles concerning the army and military trials.
In January 2016, he was again critical of the Egyptian regime, when he argued that the ‘level of repression now [is] significantly higher than it was under the Mubarak regime’.
In February 2016, he was prevented from traveling to Jordan in order to participate in a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia conference on justice in the Arab world.
On 17 September 2016, the Cairo Criminal Court confirmed the order to freeze his personal assets.Take Action
Omar Hazek is a human rights defender, a renowned poet from Alexandria and an honorary member of the Austrian chapter of PEN International. He has been an outspoken critic of the use of torture by the Egyptian police and of corruption in public institutions.
Hazek was on his way to The Hague to accept the 2016 Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression, the award is given annually to honour writers who have fought courageously for freedom of expression in the face of great adversity and despite the risk to their own lives. When he arrived at Cairo airport he was detained, questioned and later released after several hours of questioning, along with being given a travel ban.Take Action
What is the Foreign Funding Case?
Find out more about the Foreign Funding Case (no 173) targeting Human Rights Defenders in Egypt. #HarassNoMore #FreeHRDs
Is it a crime to defend human rights in Egypt?
My work on human rights was the reason why I travelled outside of Egypt on many occasions. I always saw myself as a lucky person as this also brought the opportunity to discover different cultures and meet colleagues from other countries, sharing common aspirations in the defence of economic and social rights.
But every time I travelled, I knew where, when and how I would return. Until my last departure from Egypt, I had always held a round-trip ticket.
Click here to read full testimony
"It is true that I do not feel secure there but I do miss my homeland wherever I am."
About this Campaign
This campaign is a joint initiative of EuroMed Rights and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) to gather public support for
- the release of all Egyptian activists currently held in prison
- the end of growing harassment from the Egyptian authorities
Egyptian activists are striving for human rights, democracy and other fundamental freedoms, yet have been targeted since 2011 for their role in defending and promoting civil, political and economic rights. Due to their prominent contribution in initiating change, many Egyptian activists are being targeted, threatened, prosecuted in political trials and sentenced to long prison terms.
In Egyptian President Sisi’s own words, “(…) there are many innocent people inside prisons, soon many of them will be released according to the available permissions” (declared on television on 22 February 2015)
This systematic crackdown on dissent must stop. All detained activists must be freed and this permanent harassment ended!
Take action and show your support and solidarity.
Every voice counts! Help us in getting as many as possible!
"Putting peaceful activists behind bars may give the authorities a feeling of control, but it’s illusory – and it’s certainly not the road to building a democratic political system."
Imprisoned and harassed activists need your help and your voice!
Take action now and show your support by sharing this campaign.
Spread the word and share this campaign via Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. You can use our Tweet template below
Support @EMHRN & take action to #HarassNoMore #HumanRights activists in #Egypt http://ow.ly/VjUge (add your picture to the tweet)
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Voices count! Help us in getting as many as possible!
Torture in detention and human rights are a laughing matter for police officers
Prisoners of conscience
Dream of freedom
Illusion of freedom