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Egypt

    May 18, 2018

    Amal Fathy via Facebook

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 98/18 HERE

    Egyptian authorities ordered the pre-trial detention of woman human rights defender Amal Fathy, for a total of 30 days, after she posted a video on her Facebook page in which she shared her experience of sexual harassment and criticized the government over its failure to address the issue. 

    May 07, 2018

    The Egyptian authorities have responded to Amnesty International’s report, Crushing Humanity: the abuse of solitary confinement in Egypt’s prisons, denying the widespread use of prolonged solitary confinement. Their response confirms that judicial oversight and human rights monitoring of Egyptian prisons are inadequate and ineffective.

    Amnesty International wrote to the Egyptian authorities on 16 and 17 April 2018, enclosing a memorandum containing a summary of the report’s findings on the use of solitary confinement against prisoners detained on politically motivated charges and requesting comments and clarifications. The 14-page response from the Egyptian authorities was received on 3 May 2018.

    April 24, 2018

    Responding to the sentencing of Hisham Genina, former head of the Central Auditing Organisation in Egypt, to five years in prison on charges of “publishing false information for harming national security”, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim said:

    “The arrest, military trial and outrageous five-year sentence for Hisham Genina is another example of the shameless silencing of anyone who is critical of the Egyptian authorities. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Hisham Genina. His continued imprisonment for his criticism of the recent election process is a reprehensible violation of his right to freedom of expression.

    “It is now becoming clear that the Egyptian authorities’ recent crackdown on freedom of expression shows no sign of abating. The persecution of those who dare to speak up in Egypt is quickly becoming a hallmark of al-Sisi’s new term in office.”

    Background

    March 02, 2018

    Responding to the overnight suspected enforced disappearance of human rights lawyer and director of the NGO Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, Ezzat Ghonim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim, said:

    “Given the highly charged political climate in Egypt and the clampdown on dissent in the lead up to the presidential elections, we are deeply concerned that Ezzat Ghonim may have been forcibly disappeared.

    “The Egyptian authorities have a notorious reputation for the use of enforced disappearances to silence human rights defenders and members of the opposition. This appears to be yet another shameless attack on the right to freedom of expression and association. It is a reminder of the incredible obstacles faced by those who are striving to defend the basic rights of the Egyptian people.

    “Instead of abducting those who stand up for the rights of others, the Egyptian authorities must protect these activists and facilitate their work. They must disclose any information they have about the whereabouts of Ezzat Ghonim and release him immediately if he is in state custody.”

    Background

    March 01, 2018

    Analysis of a Video released by the Egyptian Armed Forces proves beyond doubt that banned cluster munitions have been used in recent airstrikes in North Sinai, Amnesty International said today.

    On 21 February, the Egyptian military released a video on its official twitter account of what it claimed were improvised explosive devices planted by “terrorist elements”. However, Amnesty International has analysed this video and confirmed it shows an unexploded US made Mk 118 cluster munition, which could only have been dropped by the Egyptian air force.

    “Cluster bombs are among the vilest weapons in modern warfare, inherently indiscriminate and capable of killing and maiming civilians for years after their deployment. This new video confirms our worst fears, that the Egyptian Armed Forces are using cluster bombs in North Sinai. This shows a horrifying disregard for human life and international law,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 09, 2018

    Responding to last night’s raid by security forces at the house of Mohamed al-Kassas, the deputy head of Egyptian opposition party Misr al-Qawia, and the lack of information about his whereabouts, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim, said:

    “Given the track record of the Egyptian authorities and their continued use of enforced disappearances to stifle dissent, we are deeply concerned that Mohamed al-Kassas might have been forcibly disappeared and subjected to torture. The authorities must disclose any information they have about the whereabouts of Mohamed al-Kassas and release him immediately if he is in state custody.”

    “This enforced disappearance of a senior member from a prominent opposition party is a brazen attack on the rights to freedom of expression and association in Egypt. Enforced disappearance has become a routine practice by the al-Sisi administration to silence activists and opposition groups.”

    February 08, 2018
    Hanan Badr el-Din - write for rights, Egypt

    Download PDF of most recent update to UA 129/17 Egypt

    129a Egypt.pdf

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: The hearing on Hanan's case happened on 5 February and her detention was extended. The next hearing has been provisionally set to 22 March. Her health continues to deteriorate and she is still not being provided adequate medical treatment. Take urgent action below!

    Women Human rights defender Hanan Badr el-Din, currently in prison on spurious charges for speaking out against enforced disappearances in Egypt, is being denied necessary health care. Hanan Badr el-Din suffers from a genetic disorder and her health is deteriorating rapidly. She is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately.

    December 05, 2017

    Download most recent update to UA 231/17 Egypt

    231b Egypt.pdf

    16 individuals sentenced to three years in prison and three years’ probation for “debauchery”, raising the total number of individuals sentenced for their perceived sexual orientation to 49 since 22 September.

    November 29, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release a journalist and prisoner of conscience who, as of today, has spent two full years in pre-trial detention for his reporting, said Amnesty International.

    Ismail al-Iskandrani is one of the few Egyptian journalists who continued to report critically on military operations in North Sinai despite authorities attempting to impose a blackout in the region. Under Egyptian law, two years is the maximum anyone can be held in pre-trial detention, which in itself raises serious human rights concerns.

    “Ismail al-Iskandarani has been detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and should never have been arrested in the first place. The judges reviewing his pre-trial detention would be flouting Egyptian and international law if they extend his unjust detention any further,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    November 28, 2017

    Responding to the news that a Cairo court convicted 16 men of “debauchery” and sentenced them to three years prison followed by three years’ probation, Amnesty International’s Najia Bounaim the North Africa campaigns director said:

    “These sentences strike at the very heart of being human and are another example of the ongoing persecution of LGBTI people and the wider crackdown on human rights by Egyptian authorities. This prosecution violates the rights of these men to be treated equally regardless of their perceived sexual orientation.

    “In the last two months more than 70 LGBTI people have been arrested in an unprecedented crackdown with more than 40 sentenced for up to six years. The Egyptian authorities must quash the sentences against the 16 men immediately and unconditionally release them.

    “At least five of the men sentenced have been subjected to forced anal examinations following their arrest in September. Forced anal examinations violate the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law. We condemn these actions in the strongest terms.”

    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 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.

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