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Egypt

    November 09, 2017

    More than 60 members of Egypt’s parliament have proposed a deeply discriminatory law that will explicitly criminalize same-sex sexual activity in the country for the first time, said Amnesty International. The move is the latest development since authorities launched an unprecedented LGBTI crackdown after a rainbow flag was displayed at a concert in Cairo on 22 September.

    The proposed bill defines “homosexuality” for the first time and sets harsher penalties of up to five years imprisonment - or even up to 15 years if a person is convicted on multiple charges under different provisions of the law.

    “For more than a month now the Egyptian authorities have waged a vicious crackdown targeting LGBTI people in the country. More than 70 people have been arrested and some have been subjected to anal examinations that amount to torture. This deeply discriminatory bill would be a huge setback for human rights and another nail in the coffin for sexual rights in Egypt,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 20, 2017

    Today’s release of Irish citizen Ibrahimn Halawa is a resounding victory for those who have campaigned on his behalf and brings to an end his painful four-year ordeal behind bars in an Egyptian prison, said Amnesty International.

    Ibrahim Halawa release from Wadi al-Natroun prison is long overdue after more than one month from his acquittal date. He is due to arrive home to Ireland in the coming days. Amnesty International has been campaigning for his release since he was first arrested four years ago at a protest in Cairo. Thousands of Amnesty International supporters in dozens of countries signed petitions calling on the authorities to set him free during the years he was detained.

    “After four years of unjust detention, today Ibrahim Halawa finally walks free. He should never have been jailed in the first place and it is utterly outrageous that he was forced to spend a single minute of his young life behind bars.” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 19, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the journalist and human rights defender, Hisham Gaafar, who will complete two years in arbitrary pre-trial detention on 21 October, Amnesty International said. He is being held in inhumane conditions and prolonged solitary confinement causing his health to deteriorate seriously.

    Security forces arrested Hisham Gaafar on trumped up charges in October 2015. Since then, a judicial panel has repeatedly renewed his pre-trial detention without examining the scant evidence prosecutors have presented against him.

    “It is disgraceful that Hisham Gaafar has been forced to spend two years behind bars. His arbitrary and prolonged pre-trial detention is another shameful illustration of how Egypt’s judiciary is abusing the criminal justice system to punish peaceful critics and dissidents,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 05, 2017
    Rainbow Flag

    Download most recent update to UA 231/17 Egypt

    231a Egypt.pdf 231a Egypt.pdf

    The number of individuals arrested by Egyptian authorities for their perceived sexual orientation has risen to 76, with at least 32 individuals sentenced to prison. Meanwhile, the Egyptian parliament is debating a new draft law which would criminalize same-sex relationships if adopted.

    October 02, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities have arrested 22 people over the past three days alone, stepping up a campaign of persecution against LGBTI people in the country which began after a rainbow flag was displayed at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo provoking a public outcry, Amnesty International said today.

    The arrests bring the total number of people who have been detained based on their perceived sexual orientation to 33 - 32 men and one woman - since the Public Prosecutor announced an investigation into the rainbow flag “incident” on 25 September. The Forensic Medical Authority has carried out anal examinations on at least five of those arrested.

    “In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations signalling a sharp escalation in the authorities’ efforts to persecute and intimidate members of the LGBTI community following the rainbow flag incident,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    “Forced anal examinations are tantamount to torture – there is no scientific basis for such tests and they cannot be justified under any circumstances.

    September 30, 2017

    Six men arrested for “promoting sexual deviancy” and “debauchery” on social media will be subjected to invasive forensic anal examinations said Amnesty International, ahead of their trial tomorrow on Sunday 1 October. The arrests, on the evening of 27 September, came shortly after Egypt’s chief prosecutor announced an investigation in response to a public backlash against a recent concert in Cairo by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Laila where members of the crowd raised a rainbow flag.

    The Forensic Medical Authority is due to subject the six men to anal examinations to determine whether they have engaged in same sex sexual relations. Amnesty International believes that such examinations violate the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law.

    “The fact that Egypt’s Public Prosecutor is prioritizing hunting down people based on their perceived sexual orientation is utterly deplorable. These men should be released immediately and unconditionally – not put on trial,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    September 28, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must drop all charges against Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and human rights activist who rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising, and at least 23 other defendants, who could face up to four years in prison simply for criticizing the country’s flawed justice system, said Amnesty International.

    A Cairo criminal court is due to hand down its verdict in the case against a total of 25 defendants, on Saturday 30 September. At least 24 of the defendants including Alaa Abdel Fattah, Egyptian politician Amr Hamzawy, and former Member of Parliament Essam Sultan, have been charged with defamation for their legitimate criticism of the Egyptian judiciary as biased and a puppet in the hands of the state.

    “This trial is an attempt to silence criticism of a judiciary that has itself become a source of human rights violations. ‘Insulting’ public institutions or officials is not a criminal offence under international law, and no one should stand trial - let alone face imprisonment - for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    September 25, 2017

    Today’s conviction of Khalid Ali, a former presidential candidate and prominent human rights lawyer who is widely viewed as President Abdelfattah al-Sisi’s top contender for the 2018 presidential elections, is politically motivated, said Amnesty International.

    Khaled Ali was sentenced to three months in prison which would prevent him from standing in the 2018 presidential elections if the verdict is confirmed on appeal. The court found him guilty of “violating public decency” in relation to a photograph showing him celebrating a court victory after successfully reversing a controversial Egyptian government decision to hand over control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. He was released on a bail of 1000 Egyptian pounds pending appeal.

    “Khaled Ali’s politically motivated conviction today is a clear signal that the Egyptian authorities are intent on eliminating any rival who could stand in the way of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s victory in next year’s elections. It also illustrates the government’s ruthless determination to crush dissent to consolidate its power,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s Head of North Africa Campaigns.

    September 12, 2017

    Egyptian authorities should immediately release 24 Nubian activists arrested after the police violently dispersed their peaceful protest in Aswan governorate on 3 September, Amnesty International said today. The detained activists, who had been protesting in support of the Nubian Indigenous people’s cultural rights and to call for their return to their homelands in the south of Egypt, are due to appear in court tomorrow, 13 September.

    Successive Egyptian governments have forcibly displaced Nubians from their traditional lands for development projects, posing a threat to the preservation of their cultural, historical and linguistic identity. In the aftermath of the 2011 uprising, Nubian activists grew more organized and vocal in articulating their demands. Their lobbying resulted in a new provision in the 2014 Egyptian constitution that recognizes their right to return.

    “Egyptian authorities have long since marginalized Nubians, ignoring their demands to return to their historical lands and treating Nubian activism as suspicious on security grounds,” said Najia Bounaim Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    September 05, 2017

    Responding to the news today that the Egyptian authorities have blocked access to the website of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s Head of Campaigns for North Africa said:

    “The decision to block access to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms website is the latest signal that the Egyptian authorities are determined to silence independent voices and stamp out online criticism of their human rights record.

    “In recent months the Egyptian authorities have cut off access to dozens of news websites with a wave of digital censorship, and now it looks like human rights NGOs are set to be the next target. Last month, access to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, one of the oldest NGO websites in Egypt, was also blocked.

    “Human rights groups in the country have already come under unprecedented attack through asset freezes and travel bans against their staff, and a draconian NGO law signed earlier this year which has imposed harsh restrictions on their work.

    August 08, 2017
      Information gathered by Amnesty International suggests that Egyptian security forces forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed a schoolteacher who went missing after his arrest on 9 April, in the latest evidence of a chilling pattern of unlawful killings in the country.  
    August 03, 2017

    Photo: Tarek Hussein with his brother Mahmoud (Twitter @HMahmoudmohmed)

     

    Human rights defender Tarek Hussein is free!

    After being arbitrarily detained for 40 days, the former prisoner of conscience has now joined his family. The Egyptian police released Tarek Mohamed Ahmed Hussein on 27 July after arbitrarily detaining him since 17 June. That day, police officers arrested him from his home in Cairo. The police kept him in detention despite AlKhanka Prosecutor's order to release him on bail on 18 June. They claimed that Tarek Hussein has been sentenced in 16 different cases. During his detention, the police held him incommunicado for 12 days and abused him. Tarek Hussein could still potentially be imprisoned as the Prosecutor has not formally closed the investigation.

    July 19, 2017
      The EU appears in danger of softening its stance on human rights violations in Egypt by resuming annual high-level meetings with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and his delegation in Brussels next week, said Amnesty International.   The upcoming EU-Egypt Association Council meeting is set to take place in Brussels on 25 July. The meetings had been suspended after the 2011 uprising but with concerns over regional security and migration on the rise there are fears that EU member states are more willing to turn a blind eye to grave human rights violations in the country.
    July 06, 2017
      Evidence gathered by Amnesty International suggests that Egyptian police extrajudicially executed four men who had been forcibly disappeared and tortured for periods up to four weeks after they were arrested on suspicion of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The evidence raises serious questions about government claims that the men were killed during exchanges of fire in two separate incidents on 20 and 23 June.   Family members who saw victims’ bodies at the morgue told Amnesty International that three of them bore signs of torture including bruises and in one case, burns, and that National Security Agency officers prevented them from photographing the bodies, confiscating the mobile phone of one of the relatives.  
    June 16, 2017

     The Egyptian authorities must immediately stop the imminent executions of seven men sentenced to death in two grossly unfair trials, said Amnesty International calling on them to refer the case to the senior judges at Egypt’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation. The organization had recently warned that legal amendments passed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi limiting the appeal process before the court could contribute to an spike in death sentences and executions in the country.

    At least six of the men were forcibly disappeared and tortured to obtain “confessions” that were later used by a criminal court in Mansoura to convict them of murdering a police officer and setting up a “terrorist” organization. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Cassation last week. In a separate case, another man is facing imminent execution after losing his final appeal before the same court. He was convicted, following a grossly unfair trial, of killing a man during a protest in Alexandria.

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