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Egypt

    July 15, 2015

    A draconian counterterrorism law expanding the Egyptian authorities’ iron grip on power would strike at the very heart of basic freedoms and human rights principles and must be scrapped immediately or fundamentally revised, said Amnesty International. 

    The draft law, which is being discussed by the cabinet today, represents a flagrant attack on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. It also weakens safeguards to ensure fair trials and widens the use of the death penalty. If approved the law could be signed off by the President and ratified within days. 

    “The proposed counterterrorism law vastly expands the Egyptian authorities’ powers and threatens the most fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. If approved, it is set to become yet another tool for the authorities to crush all forms of dissent,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    June 29, 2015
    Photo: Mansoura University students Menatalla Moustafa, Abrar Al-Anany and teacher Yousra Elkhateeb, jailed in Egypt on 21 May 2014 for protesting peacefully.

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 30 June 2015

    A continuing onslaught against young activists by the Egyptian authorities is a blatant attempt to crush the spirit of the country’s bravest and brightest young minds, and nip in the bud any future threat to their rule, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    Free three Egyptian young women protestors jailed for protesting

    June 29, 2015

    The perpetrators of a bomb attack in Cairo this morning which killed Egypt’s Public Prosecutor and injured five of his bodyguards and one other by-stander must be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty, Amnesty International said. 

    Hisham Barakat was being driven downtown from his home in the district of Heliopolis early this morning when a car bomb exploded next to his convoy, setting fire to many cars. He later died in hospital of his injuries.

    “The killing of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat was a despicable, cowardly and cold-blooded act of murder,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. 

    “If the rule of law is to prevail in Egypt, judges and prosecutors must be free to do their jobs without the threat of violence. However, the Egyptian authorities must not use such threats as a pretext for trampling upon human rights.”

    June 16, 2015

    By sentencing Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi and 102 others, including senior Muslim Brotherhood members, to death today, the Egyptian authorities have once again demonstrated the appalling state of the country’s justice system, Amnesty International said.

    “This appalling outcome is sadly not surprising. It’s just another symptom of how horrendously broken Egypt’s justice system has become,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “This is nothing more than a vengeful march to the gallows. These entire legal proceedings have been a mockery of justice and the death sentences must be thrown out. Mohamed Morsi and his aides must be released or retried in civilian court in line with Egyptian law and international fair trial standards without recourse to death penalty.”

    May 16, 2015

    An Egyptian court’s recommendation today to sentence ousted president Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 other defendants to death after grossly unfair trials shows the deplorable state of the country’s criminal justice system, said Amnesty International.

    “Condemning Mohamed Morsi to death after more grossly unfair trials shows a complete disregard for human rights. His trials were undermined even before he set foot in the courtroom. The fact that he was held for months incommunicado without judicial oversight and that he didn’t have a lawyer to represent him during the investigations makes these trials nothing but a charade based on null and void procedures,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.  

    May 02, 2015

    Released 3 May 2015 00:01 GMT

    Journalists in Egypt face acute dangers including arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention without charge, prosecution and intimidation according to a statement published by Amnesty International on World Press Freedom Day (3 May) highlighting the dangers of media reporting in the country.

    At least 18 journalists are currently detained in Egypt, dozens more have faced arbitrary arrest. Since June 2013, at least six journalists have also been killed while covering protests, either by security forces or in clashes between demonstrators.

    “In Egypt today anyone who challenges the authorities’ official narrative, criticizes the government or exposes human rights violations is at risk of being tossed into a jail cell, often to be held indefinitely without charge or trial or face prosecution on trumped-up charges,” said Philip Luther Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    April 29, 2015

    In the lead up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, the parents of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who was recently released from prison in Egypt, remain concerned about his colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.

    As we proudly watched our son Peter Greste finally speak outside the Tora fortress that had been his prison for more than a year, addressing an audience filled with politicians and journalists at the National Press Club in Canberra, our pride couldn’t help be tinged by the knowledge this freedom couldn’t be shared by his Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed and Baher.

    These welcoming faces felt a long way from June 2014, when Peter, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, the ‘Al Jazeera three’ as they’d become known, were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison on charges of broadcasting false news and aiding the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This nightmare had followed their arrest on the 29th of December, 2013, for simply doing their jobs and was without a doubt the lowest point in the campaign to have all three released.

    April 26, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland Release

    Responding to the news of a further adjournment of the trial in Cairo of Ibrahim Halawa, Amnesty International today expressed its concern at the ongoing detention of the Irish teenager who is a prisoner of conscience. Following a hearing in Cairo the trial was further adjourned today until 6 June. An application for bail was also refused.

    Ibrahim Halawa and his three sisters were arrested on 18 August 2013 for taking part in a pro-democracy protest in Cairo. His sisters were released on bail after three months and allowed to return to Ireland. Ibrahim who was 17 years old at the time of his arrest, remains in prison and faces a lengthy sentence and possible death sentence if convicted of the charges laid against him.

    April 21, 2015

    The sentencing of Mohamed Morsi to 20 years in prison today is a travesty of justice and demonstrates, once again, that the Egyptian criminal justice system appears to be completely incapable of delivering fair trials for members or supporters of the former president's administration and the Muslim Brotherhood, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling for Mohamed Morsi to receive a fair re-trial in a civilian court in line with international standards, or to be released.

    “This verdict shatters any remaining illusion of independence and impartiality in Egypt’s criminal justice system,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “Any semblance of a fair trial was jeopardized from the outset by a string of irregularities in the judicial process and his arbitrary, incommunicado detention. His conviction must be quashed and the authorities must order a full re-trial in a civilian court or release him."

    April 10, 2015

    Today will be a nerve-wracking day for Mohamed Soltan, a 27-year-old US-Egyptian activist who has been languishing in Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison, where he has been on hunger strike for more than 14 months.

    The court sentenced his father, Salah Soltan, and 13 others to death on 16 March. Their sentences may be confirmed after consultation with the Grand Mufti.

    Tomorrow, Mohamed and 36 others will face the same court on charges including “funding the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in” – a mass protest in Cairo in August 2013 that was forcibly dispersed by security forces – and spreading “false information” to destabilize the security of Egypt. They are part of a group of 51 individuals arrested after the sit-in as part of a sweeping crackdown on supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi.

    Mohamed’s sister, Hanaa, is incredibly anxious about what the future might hold for her family. Below is a harrowing letter she wrote to her brother:

    Dear Mohamed,

    April 07, 2015

    By Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty Internationa. Follow Hassiba on Twitter @HassibaHS.

    For 600 days Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, a 27-year-old Egyptian photojournalist, has been holed up in a small cell in the infamous Tora prison. His crime: taking pictures of the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in in August 2013. He is one of dozens of Egyptian journalists arrested since former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted on 3 July 2013. Six have been killed since then.

    Here’s a harrowing letter that Mahmoud Abou Zeid sent from his cell:

    “My life changed forever on the morning of Wednesday 14 August 2013. I was taking pictures of people protesting on the streets of Cairo when police came and locked down the streets. Thousands of people were immediately arrested – not only Morsi supporters, but also dozens of people caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    April 02, 2015

    Spurious charges have been brought against a women’s rights activist and 16 others after they testified as witnesses against the security forces, in a clear attempt by the Egyptian authorities to skew the scales of justice, said Amnesty International ahead of their trial hearing on 4 April.

    Azza Soliman, founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, is one of 17 witnesses who came forward to give evidence about the killing of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, an activist and poet who was shot dead on 24 January 2015 by security forces during the dispersal of a peaceful march in Cairo to commemorate those who died during the 2011 “25 January Revolution”. All those who came forward as witnesses are now facing charges of protesting without authorization and disturbing public order.

    “The fact that the authorities are resorting to blatant intimidation tactics to silence witnesses shows just how the criminal justice system in Egypt is being used as a tool of repression,” said Said Boumedouha, Acting Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    March 04, 2015

    A string of deaths in custody has thrown the spotlight on torture and horrific detention conditions at a police station in the Mattareya district of Cairo where at least three people died last week, said Amnesty International.

    Two of the deaths took place on the same day last week and according to the forensic authority in Cairo, one of the bodies bore marks consistent with torture or other ill-treatment. Since April 2014 at least nine detainees have died at Mattareya Police Station according to information gathered by Amnesty International, yet so far investigations have been half-hearted and no one has been held accountable.

    “The pattern of deaths in custody emerging at Mattareya Police Station is distressing. The authorities cannot continue to sweep rampant abuses under the carpet, and families are growing frustrated with the authorities’ unwillingness to hold perpetrators to account,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    February 12, 2015

    Amnesty International is reiterating its calls for the release of the Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy as their retrial began in Cairo today.

    “The notion that Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy now have to start this farcical process from scratch beggars belief,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahroui, Amnesty International’s Depuy Middle East and North Africa Director.
    "The message today's trial sends is that there is no justice for Egyptians."

    The men have been in prison for more than a year. Their earlier convictions were overturned after a deeply flawed trial.

    “It is crucial that Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy's continuing ordeal is not forgotten, particularly now that their Australian colleague Peter Greste is a free man. Like him, they are guilty of nothing more than carrying out their jobs as journalists. There is no reason that they should remain behind bars. The authorities should put an immediate end to their torment by dropping the charges and releasing them immediately and unconditionally,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

    February 02, 2015

    The deaths sentences handed down to 183 people in Egypt today following grossly unfair trials are a further sign of Egypt’s disregard for national and international law, says Amnesty International today.

    “Today’s death sentences are yet another example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system. These verdicts and sentences must be quashed and all of those convicted should be given a trial that meets international standards of fairness and excludes the death penalty,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment in all circumstances. To impose death when there are serious doubts hanging over the fairness of the trial is outrageous and flouts international law.”

    The sentences come after a nation-wide media campaign calling for the execution of those involved in attacks on police and military, which gathered pace following last week’s attacks in Sinai.

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