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    April 09, 2019

    Malak al-Kashef © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 43/19 HERE

    Malak al-Kashef is a 19-year-old transgender woman human rights defender, arbitrarily detained in solitary confinement at the all-male Mazra’at Tora prison. 

    On 6 March 2019, National Security Agency (NSA) officers arrested Malak at her family’s residence in Giza. Malak’s detention was part of a massive campaign of arrests that followed the 27 February fire incident at Ramses train station, which killed 25 people and related to her online posts calling for protests in the wake of the fire. She was arrested along with at least 35 other people.

    On 2 April, a Supreme State Security Prosecutor extended Malak’s 15-day arbitrary detention for a third time. She faces trumped-up charges of “aiding a terrorist organization” and “misusing social media to commit a crime punishable by law” in case 1739/2018. 

    April 08, 2019

    Egypt’s authorities must end their crackdown against critics who oppose amendments to the Egyptian constitution, proposed by members of parliament, that will strengthen impunity for human rights violations, said Amnesty International. Many of those who have criticized the changes have been arrested or publicly vilified in the media.

    The organization is today publishing an analysis of the constitutional amendments which are currently being discussed by the Egyptian parliament. If passed, these measures will undermine the independence of the judiciary, expand military trials for civilians and could allow President Abdel Fattah to stay in power until 2034.

    “If passed, these constitutional amendments would worsen the devastating human rights crisis Egyptians are already facing. They would grant President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and security forces free rein to further abuse their powers and suppress peaceful dissent for years to come,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    March 07, 2019

    Update:

    On 7 March Malak al-Kashef appeared in front of a Supreme State Security Prosecutor, who ordered her detention for 15 days pending investigations for “aiding a terrorist organization” and “misusing social media to commit a crime punishable by law”. The police then took her to an undisclosed location, where they detained her incommunicado until 10 March, when her lawyer was able to confirm that the police is detaining her in solitary confinement at al-Haram police station in Giza. Her detention is up for renewal again on 19 March, when the prosecutor will decide whether to release her or extend her detention.

     *****

    Fears are growing for the safety and wellbeing of Malak al-Kashef, a transgender woman seized during a police raid from her home in Giza in the early hours of 6 March and who has not been heard from since, Amnesty International said.

    Malak al-Kashef was taken by police to an undisclosed location. Her lawyers have not been able to locate her and police stations have denied she is in their custody.

    March 06, 2019

    An investigation by Amnesty International has revealed that dozens of Egyptian human rights defenders have been targeted by phishing attacks since the beginning of this year, putting them in grave danger amid Abdelfattah al-Sisi’s government’s intensifying crackdown on dissent.

    Since January 2019 Amnesty Tech has analyzed dozens of suspicious emails sent to Egyptian human rights defenders, journalists and NGOs. The organization found that the emails used a technique known as OAuth Phishing to gain access to private accounts, and that attacks spiked during key political moments such as the anniversary of Egypt’s uprising on 25 January. 

    “These digital attacks appear to be part of a sustained campaign to intimidate and silence critics of the Egyptian government. Over the past year Egyptian human rights defenders have faced an unprecedented assault from the authorities, risking arrest and imprisonment whenever they speak out, and these chilling attempts to target them online pose yet another threat to their vital work,” said Ramy Raoof, Tactical Technologist at Amnesty Tech.

    March 04, 2019

    Responding to the news that photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was finally released today after spending more than five years in prison on trumped-up charges, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim said:

    “Mahmoud Abou Zeid’s long overdue release brings to an end a painful ordeal for him and his family. As a prisoner of conscience, he should never have been forced to spend a single minute behind bars – let alone five and a half years.

    “After his release, he faces ludicrous probation measures which require him to spend 12 hours of each day at a police station from 6pm to 6am for the next five years. These outrageous measures will severely restrict his liberty and should be lifted immediately.

    “Mahmoud Abou Zeid was arrested and imprisoned solely for doing his job as a journalist. His conviction, more than five years later, on trumped-up charges during a grossly unfair mass trial alongside more than 700 other defendants was a mockery of justice.

    February 28, 2019

    After learning that Canadian citizen Yasser Albaz has been detained in Cairo’s Tora prison, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve issued the following statement:

    "Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the detention of Canadian citizen Yasser Albaz in Egypt and is calling on the Egyptian authorities to release him. We consider his detention to be arbitrary based on the information that we have received from his family and lawyer, which indicates that the charges against him are unfounded. Yasser Albaz’s detention and brief forced disappearance followed by pre-trial detention without charge and without any lawful, substantiated or well-founded allegations, follows an established pattern that Amnesty International has documented in Egypt. Since December 2017, at least 126 individuals have been detained in similar circumstances. Amnesty International calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Mr. Albaz and reiterates the organization’s earlier calls to release the many Egyptians who have been subjected to arbitrary detention.

    February 20, 2019

    Responding to the news that Egyptian authorities have today executed nine men convicted after a grossly unfair trial for the 2015 killing of the country’s former Public Prosecutor, Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director said:

    “By carrying out the executions of these nine men today Egypt has demonstrated an absolute disregard for the right to life.

    “Those responsible for the attack that killed Egypt’s former public prosecutor deserve to be punished but executing men who were convicted in trials marred by torture allegations is not justice but a testament to the magnitude of injustice in the country.

    “These executions are a stark demonstration of the government’s increasing use of the death penalty, bringing the total number of death sentences implemented in the past three weeks to 15. Egyptian authorities must urgently halt this bloody execution spree which has seen them repeatedly putting people to death after grossly unfair trials in recent weeks. 

    February 19, 2019

    Egyptian authorities must immediately halt the execution of nine prisoners whom Amnesty International has learned could be put to death as soon as tomorrow morning. The men were convicted after an unfair trial over the 2015 killing of Egypt’s former public prosecutor, and have been moved from their prison cells to the appeals prison in preparation for their executions. During the trial some of the defendants said they were forcibly disappeared and tortured to confessing to the crime.

    Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director said:

    “Time is running out to save the lives of these nine men. The Egyptian authorities have an opportunity to do the right thing by immediately halting any plans to carry out these executions.

    “There is no doubt that those involved in deadly attacks must be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions but executing prisoners or convicting people based on confessions extracted through torture is not justice.

    February 15, 2019

    Egyptian authorities are flagrantly violating international law by denying family visits to scores of detainees, Amnesty International said today. The organization has examined an official document which confirms there is an open-ended ban on family visits in a number of sections at two major prison complexes in Cairo and Alexandria.

    Amnesty International has also recorded at least 61 cases of people who were prevented from receiving family visits for protracted periods – in some cases for up to two years -  at Tora prison in Cairo and Borg al-Arab in Alexandria. The total number of detainees barred from receiving family visits at these two prisons is likely to be much higher.

    “Egypt’s arbitrary and unlawful restrictions on family visits are depriving scores of detainees of their rights to keep in touch with family members, and often also of the chance to receive medication, food or clothing from their loved ones during their detention,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    February 13, 2019

    Egyptian authorities today hanged three prisoners convicted of killing a police officer during clashes that erupted in the weeks following the deadly Rabaa massacre. The executions brought the total number of executions in Egypt to six within a span of two weeks.

    Responding to the news, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim said:

    “These executions, which come just days after three other people were put to death in separate cases, mark an alarming escalation in executions so far this year.

    “The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and its use is appalling under any circumstances, but it is even more so given that all six execution

    victims were sentenced based on confessions they said were extracted under torture. The shocking flaws in Egypt’s justice system have seen hundreds sentenced to death after grossly unfair trials in recent years.

    February 08, 2019

    Member states of the African Union must ensure that Egypt’s upcoming chairmanship does not undermine the continental body’s human rights mechanisms, said Amnesty International today. President Abdelfattah al-Sisi of Egypt will assume the position of the chairperson of the African Union on 10 February during its 32nd ordinary session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    “During his time in power President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has demonstrated a shocking contempt for human rights. Under his leadership the country has undergone a catastrophic decline in rights and freedoms,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    “There are real fears about the potential impact his chairmanship could have on the independence of regional human rights mechanisms and their future engagement with civil society.”

    January 24, 2019

    Eight years after the start of Egypt’s revolution, the Egyptian people are facing an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today. Tens of thousands took to the streets to demand greater protections for human rights during the 25 January revolution of 2011, but under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the space for dissent is being crushed out of existence.

    Over the course of 2018, the Egyptian authorities arrested at least 113 people simply for peacefully expressing their views. Many were detained without trial for months and then prosecuted on charges including “membership of terrorist groups” and “disseminating false news” in unfair trials, including in front of military courts.

    December 20, 2018

    Responding to the news that the South Cairo Criminal Court this morning acquitted all 43 defendants in the retrial of Egypt’s notorious “foreign funding” case – also known as Case 173 - Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director said:

    “Today’s acquittal of all 43 NGO workers in the first ‘foreign funding’ case is a step in the right direction for Egyptian justice. This was a bogus case that targeted human rights defenders simply for doing their legitimate work and should never have happened in the first place.

    “However, today’s ruling only relates to the first phase of the case which investigated the funding of international organizations; the investigation into local Egyptian NGOs is ongoing and dozens of staff are still at risk. 

    “Since the ‘foreign funding’ case was opened Egyptian human rights defenders have been treated as enemies of the state, subjected to an unprecedented crackdown, including asset freezes, travel bans and prosecutions.

    December 18, 2018

    Egyptian authorities must immediately comply with a court decision to release Amal Fathy, a woman human rights defender who was given a two-year sentence in September for posting a video online in which she criticized the Egyptian authorities for failing to tackle sexual harassment.

    A Cairo criminal court today ordered Amal Fathy’s release on probation after accepting her appeal against her pre-trial detention in relation to a separate case, in which she is charged with “belonging to a terrorist group”, “broadcasting ideas calling for terrorist acts” and “publishing fake news”. According to the terms of her probation, Amal will be required to visit a police station a number of times every week. Her next hearing in this case is on 26 December.

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