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Egypt

    February 25, 2014

    Egypt’s armed forces must end the military trial of two journalists, release them immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against them, Amnesty International said as it named both men prisoners of conscience.

    Amr Al Qazaz and Islam Farahat are to appear before the North Cairo Misdemeanour Military Court on 26 February 2014, on charges of illegally obtaining and publishing classified military documents and videos – including interviews with Egypt’s Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. If convicted, both men could face up to three years in prison.

    “The two journalists are prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression by performing their jobs,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “The Egyptian authorities must release them immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against them. Journalism is not a crime, and civilians, including journalists, should never face trial in military courts.”

    February 19, 2014

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately drop the charges against three journalists from Al Jazeera English who were referred to trial today for allegedly providing assistance or belonging to a banned group engaged in terrorist activities, said Amnesty International.

    “Today’s decision by Egypt’s chief prosecutor to refer a number of journalists to trial on alleged terrorism related charges is a major setback for media freedom in Egypt,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “The move sends the chilling message that only one narrative is acceptable in Egypt today - that which is sanctioned by the Egyptian authorities.”

    The three journalists -- Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed -- have been detained since 29 December 2013. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression and is calling for them to be immediately and unconditionally released.

    If convicted, the journalists could face between three years to life in prison.

    February 07, 2014
    Since the beginning of the academic year in September 2013, several protests have been held on university grounds by the “Students against the Coup”, an anti-government activist group.© Demotix

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three women arrested last November at a protest at Mansoura University, said Amnesty International.  

    The organization said authorities should drop all the charges against the women, who are due to go on trial on Saturday 8 February. If convicted, they face up to life in prison.

    January 29, 2014

     The Egyptian authorities must immediately drop the charges against three journalists from Al Jazeera English who were referred to trial today for allegedly providing assistance or belonging to a banned group engaged in terrorist activities, said Amnesty International.

    “Today’s decision by Egypt’s chief prosecutor to refer a number of journalists to trial on alleged terrorism related charges is a major setback for media freedom in Egypt,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    "The move sends the chilling message that only one narrative is acceptable in Egypt today - that which is sanctioned by the Egyptian authorities.”

    The three journalists -- Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed -- have been detained since 29 December 2013. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression and is calling for them to be immediately and unconditionally released.

    If convicted, the journalists could face between three years to life in prison.

    January 22, 2014
    The Egyptian authorities have tightened the noose on freedom of expression and assembly© REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghan

    Posted at 0001 GMT 23 January 2014

    The Egyptian authorities are using every resource at their disposal to quash dissent and trample on human rights, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published ahead of the third anniversary of the “25 January Revolution”.

    The briefing entitled Roadmap to repression: No end in sight to human rights violations, paints a bleak picture of the state of rights and liberties in Egypt since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

    January 03, 2014

    Three prominent activists are facing trial in an apparently politically motivated case based on unreliable witnesses and scant evidence, said Amnesty International ahead of a court verdict due this Sunday.

    On 5 January a criminal court in Giza, Greater Cairo, is expected to deliver a verdict in a case against 12 people accused of attacking and setting fire to the campaign headquarters of former presidential candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, on 28 May 2012. The defendants include three leading activists who have been critical of abuses committed by the security forces under successive Egyptian governments.

    “The Egyptian authorities must not use Sunday’s verdict to punish activists who oppose them. There are reasons to believe the trial is politically motivated. All three activists have denied they were present at the scene and evidence against them is questionable,” said Said Boumedouha, Acting Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    November 28, 2013

    The conviction and imprisonment of 21 female protesters, including seven girls, after they participated in a peaceful pro-Morsi demonstration in Alexandria shows the Egyptian authorities’ determination to punish dissent, Amnesty International said.

    “These harsh prison sentences against young women and girls come after the adoption of a draconian protest law and the violent dispersal of an activists’ protest in Cairo. It is a strong signal that there will be no limit to the authorities’ efforts to crush opposition and that no one is immune to their iron fist,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “These women and girls should have never been arrested. They are now prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

    The Sidi-Gaber Misdemeanour court in Alexandria yesterday sentenced 14 women to 11 years and one month in prison. An Alexandria juvenile court sentenced seven girls to be placed in a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21.

    November 28, 2013

    Ahmed Ezz, a mechanical engineer, talks about his voluntary work with Operation Anti-Sexual Harrassment/Assault (OpAntiSH), an activist organization based in Cairo, Egypt, known for intervening in sexual assaults by mobs in Tahrir Square.

    When people find out that a woman has been sexually harassed and assaulted, their first reaction is “what was she wearing?”. They always lay the blame on the women themselves. I’ve witnessed this so many times.

    It is not safe at all in Cairo for women and girls. Their freedom of movement is constantly constrained. Some avoid using the metro, and spend more money on taking taxis or multiple buses, simply to minimize the risk of harassment and assault. If women and girls complain about sexual harassment, people around them just try to calm them down, belittle their concerns or accuse them of unjustly pointing the fingers at harassers.

    Finding a solution

    November 25, 2013

    A new law placing broad restrictions on protests in Egypt is a serious setback that poses a grave threat to freedom of assembly and gives security forces a free rein to use excessive force, including lethal force, against demonstrators, Amnesty International said today.

    The law, signed yesterday by Egyptian President Adly Mansour, grants the Ministry of Interior wide discretionary powers over protests and lays out broad circumstances in which demonstrators can be found to violate the law. 

    “It is a dangerous sign that the first piece of legislation regulating rights and freedoms passed since the ousting of Mohamed Morsi curtails freedom of assembly and treats peaceful protesters like criminals. Not only does it allow the police to disperse peaceful demonstrations, but gives them the power to shoot protesters who pose no threat to the lives or safety of others”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    November 13, 2013

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    For months, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have been sounding the alarm bell about the erosion of women’s human rights in Egypt. The issue received media coverage in June and July of this year when a large number of women were attacked while protesting in Tahrir Square, but otherwise media and public attention to this issue has been scant.

    October 17, 2013

    • Egypt unlawfully detains hundreds of Syrian and Palestinian refugees
    • Children as young as one in detention for weeks
    • Hundreds forcibly deported to countries in the region, including Syria
    • Families separated by forced deportations     

    The Egyptian authorities must end their appalling policy of unlawfully detaining and forcibly returning hundreds of refugees who have fled the armed conflict in Syria, said Amnesty International.

    Following the deaths in recent weeks of refugees and asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa, a short report published by Amnesty International today, ‘We cannot live here any more’: Refugees from Syria in Egypt, throws a spotlight on the tragic consequences of Egypt’s hardline stance towards refugees from Syria. More and more refugees are risking their lives to make the treacherous journey by sea to Europe – often paying smugglers up to US $3,500 each to make the trip.

    October 14, 2013

    Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, health officials and wounded protesters  suggests security forces used live ammunition to disperse crowds of mostly peaceful demonstrators on 6 October, said Amnesty International.

    At least 49 people were killed and hundreds injured in Cairo alone, as security forces used excessive and unwarranted lethal force to disperse pro-Morsi protesters. According to eyewitnesses, in some instances, security forces stood by as men in civilian clothing armed with knives, swords or firearms attacked and clashed with demonstrators.

    “The Egyptian security forces patently failed to prevent the loss of life. In a number of cases bystanders or non-violent protesters were caught up in the violence,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

    October 11, 2013

    Today’s shipwreck off the coast of Alexandria that drowned at least 12 people, many believed to be refugees from Syria, highlights the crushing life-and-death decisions facing many who fled to Egypt to escape Syria’s armed conflict, Amnesty International said.

    The organization is due to launch a briefing next week on the plight of refugees from Syria in Egypt, and currently has a delegation on the ground researching the situation.

    “Our research has shown how the backdrop to today’s terrible boat accident is a much wider tragedy. Refugees from Syria are compelled to risk life and limb yet again in Egypt after facing arbitrary arrests, detentions and increased hostility,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty International's Head of Refugee and Migrants' Rights.

    October 09, 2013

    A detailed report into the attacks targeting Coptic Christian communities in August reveals the extent of the failure of the security services to protect the minority group, said Amnesty International.

    The new report published today examines events during the unprecedented wave of sectarian attacks in the wake of the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August.

    It details how security forces failed to prevent angry mobs attacks on Christian churches, schools and charity buildings, setting them ablaze and razing some to the ground. At least four people were killed.

    “It is deeply disturbing that the Christian community across Egypt was singled out for revenge attacks over the events in Cairo by some supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “In light of previous attacks, particularly since Morsi’s outsing on 3 July, a backlash against Coptic Christians should have been anticipated, yet security forces failed to prevent attacks or intervene to put an end to the violence.”

    October 07, 2013

    Dr. Tarek Loubani & filmmaker John Greyson have been released from prison in Egypt.

    Thank you to the tens of thousands of Amnesty Interantional supporters who spoke up for their freedom!

    Amnesty International welcomes their safe return to Canada, following an intense period of campaigning backed by Amnesty International members in Canada and around the world.

    Following their release from prison, Tarek and John were temporarily unable to leave Egypt, in spite of no charges having been made, and in the absence of any court order that restricted their freedom to travel. Amnesty International will continue to urge Egyptian authorities to follow international human rights law in the treatment of all Egyptians detained during protests in Egypt.

     

    Their story: Tarek Loubani and John Greyson's detainment in Egypt

    Tarek and John were detained in August on charges of “violence”, “inciting violence” and “carrying weapons”, as well as “destroying public property”. They had been held alongside hundreds of Egyptians who were arrested during violence in Cairo on August 16th, 2013.

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