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Egypt

    October 10, 2019

    The torture in custody of Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and activist who rose to fame during the 2011 uprising, as well as the mistreatment of his lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, are chilling illustrations of the ruthless tactics the Egyptian authorities are prepared to use to silence critics, said Amnesty International today.

    Following his arrest on 29 September during the authorities’ latest crackdown, Alaa Abdel Fattah was transferred to Egypt’s notorious Tora maximum security prison 2, known as al-Aqrab 2 - where prison officers blindfolded him, stripped him of his clothing, beat and kicked him repeatedly, and subjected him to threats and verbal abuse.

    One police officer told him prison was “made for people like you”, adding that he would be in prison for the rest of his life. A National Security Agency officer warned he would face further torture if he reported the abuse.

    July 31, 2019

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately end cruel and inhumane detention conditions and allow regular family visits at al-Aqrab maximum security prison in Tora where approximately 130 detainees have gone on a mass hunger strike for more than six weeks, said Amnesty International today. Many of those on strike were arrested more than two years ago and have not been allowed a single visit from their families or lawyers.

    In response to the hunger strike, which began on 17 June, authorities have retaliated against the detainees by beating them, applying electric shocks with tasers and punished some of them with disciplinary measures, in an effort to coerce them to end their strike, according to a statement issued by detainees from prison. At least 10 hunger-strikers were blindfolded and transferred to special cells which they are not allowed to exit all day. 

    July 26, 2019

     

    Ibrahim Ezz El-Din © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 104/19 HERE

    On 11 June 2019, security forces arrested housing rights researcher Ibrahim Ezz El-Din from a street near his house in Moqattam, Cairo. Since his arrest, the authorities have continued to deny that he is in their custody and his family have not been informed of his fate or whereabouts.

    Plainclothes security forces arrested Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, a housing rights researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom. He was taken from the street in the area where he lives in Moqattam, Cairo, and has been forcibly disappeared since then. Following his arrest, his family and lawyers have enquired about him at the Moqattam police station, but the authorities denied that he is in their custody. The family and lawyers also sent a telegram (a postal message) to the Public Prosecutor and filed a complaint regarding his disappearance. 

    July 10, 2019

    The Egyptian authorities’ growing trend of re-imprisoning people who have been arbitrarily detained, instead of complying with court orders to release them is an alarming signal of how decayed the country’s justice system has become, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has documented the cases of five individuals, where the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) bypassed court orders to release them from arbitrary detention by imprisoning them in new cases based on fabricated charges, in a bid to keep them behind bars indefinitely.

    “The Egyptian authorities’ practice of re-ordering the detention of detainees on blatantly fabricated charges just as they are about to be released is an alarming trend that illustrates the extent of Egypt’s decayed justice system,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    “This unlawful practice has seen detainees who were already detained on spurious grounds trapped in the ‘revolving doors’ of Egypt’s arbitrary detention system, as part of deliberate ploy to prolong their detention.” 

    July 02, 2019

    The Egyptian authorities are attempting to normalize human rights violations by passing a series of laws to “legalize” their escalating crackdown on freedom of expression, association and assembly, said Amnesty International, six years since recently deceased former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power on 3 July 2013.

    The organization has today published a damning overview of human rights in Egypt since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s ascent to power, which has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of Egypt’s upcoming periodic review of its human rights record in November.

    June 17, 2019

    Responding to the news of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s death in custody today Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    "The news of Mohamed Morsi’s death in court today is deeply shocking and raises serious questions about his treatment in custody. The Egyptian authorities must immediately order an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death, as well as his detention conditions and his ability to access medical care.  

    "Egyptian authorities had the responsibility to ensure that, as a detainee,he had access to proper medical care.

    May 17, 2019

    The arbitrary detention of labour rights lawyer, Haytham Mohamdeen, and former political activist, Mostafa Maher, this week has raised fears that the Egyptian authorities might be embarking on a fresh crackdown targeting peaceful dissent or individuals with history of activism, said Amnesty International.

    “These latest arrests have reignited a climate of fear amongst independent activists and human rights organizations about a renewed assault by the Egyptian authorities on the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International. 

    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.

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