BHRC and EuroMed Rights Launch Trial Observation Report on Aya Hegazy’s Case

Egypt, Report, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

London, 27 November

Photo by Mohamed El Raai/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

EuroMed Rights and the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) of England and Wales are publishing a new trial observation report (also available in Arabic) on the case of Egyptian woman human rights defender Aya Hegazy.

Ms Aya Hegazy, dual US-Egyptian citizen and founder of the Belady Foundation, a charity helping street children, was held in detention for three years with her husband and six other defendants. They were acquitted of all charges in April this year, yet the reasoned judgment is still pending.

The trial observation took place between 11 February 2016 and 16 April 2017. BHRC monitored six of the hearings in the case before the Abdeen District Court in Cairo (Egypt) on behalf of EuroMed Rights.

Commenting on the issue, EuroMed Egyptian Rights’ Executive Board member, Moataz El Fegiery, said:

“Aya Hegazy’s case is unfortunately not isolated. Many of the issues identified in her trial are not unique to her case but are systemic within the Egyptian criminal justice system. There are very high numbers of individuals who remain in pre-trial detention for excessive periods with conditional release being routinely refused. The rules and practice relating to pre-trial detention and the application procedure for conditional release must be reformed to ensure compliance with human rights and international standards.”

Chairwoman of BHRC, Kirsty Brimelow QC, added:

“Aya Hegazy, her husband and six other defendants spent 1.081 days in detention prior to acquittal. Whilst this loss of freedom can never be regained, it can inform Egypt as to changes it must make in order to comply with its fair trial obligations to its people.”

Notes to Editors
Aya Hegazy, together with her husband Mohammed Hassenein, founded the Belady Foundation, a civil society organisation set up to help street children. In May 2014, they and a further six friends, were arrested and charged with a number of offences, namely allegedly organising a group for the purposes of human trafficking, holding children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, sexually exploiting the children, using the children to disturb the peace in protests against security forces, and operating an unregistered civil society organisation (CSO). The defendants have always denied the charges, maintaining that the statements are false, the charges fabricated and that there is no evidence to support the case against them.

Read the report and the observers’ recommendations here (also available in Arabic).

Contact:

  • BHRC: Amanda June Chadwick +44 (0) 7854 197862
  • EuroMed Rights: Eliana Capretti + 32 (0) 488 08 00 41

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