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Egypt

    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.

    June 13, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities have shifted their onslaught against media freedom to the digital sphere, blocking access to more than 40 news sites without justification in recent weeks, in an attempt to eliminate the country’s last remaining spaces for criticism and free expression, said Amnesty International.

    May 30, 2017

    A new law signed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, imposing unprecedentedly harsh restrictions on NGOs, could be a death sentence for human rights groups in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “This is a catastrophic blow for human rights groups working in Egypt. The severity of the restrictions imposed by this law threatens to annihilate NGOs in the country, at a time when the authorities’ escalating crackdown on dissent makes their work more important than ever, said Najia Bounaim, Campaigns Director for North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “This law, which gives the government extraordinary powers to control NGOs and imposes harsh punishments and fines for any violation of its draconian provisions, is the latest ploy by the Egyptian authorities to silence all independent voices.”

    May 24, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities have intensified their crackdown on opposition activists ahead of the upcoming 2018 presidential elections, arresting at least 36 people in 17 cities from five opposition parties and political youth groups, said Amnesty International today. Many were arrested in connection with comments they posted online about the elections.

    Among who have faced arrest is the former presidential candidate and prominent human rights lawyer Khaled Ali who was detained yesterday and released today on bail. He will now face trial on Monday for “violating public morals”. If convicted he faces a one year prison sentence or a fine. He would also be barred from running for the presidency. In February he acknowledged that he was considering a renewed presidential bid for 2018 elections.

    April 21, 2017

    Information gathered by Amnesty International confirms that members of Egyptian military are responsible for at least seven unlawful killings, including shooting dead at point blank range an unarmed man and a 17-year-old child.

    The organization’s experts analysed leaked video footage of the killings and compared it with photographs and a Youtube video published by the Egyptian military, as well as interviewing Sinai-based sources and experts. The footage shows a member of the Egyptian military shooting the child dead alongside another man in military uniform, whose accent indicates that he is a Sinai local. The bodies of five other men who appear to have been killed earlier also appear in the video.

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