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Egypt

    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.

    November 15, 2018

    Following  comments by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in which he acknowledged the need for a more” balanced” law governing NGOs, Amnesty International has published an open letter to the government calling for the law to be scrapped and replaced with a version that is in line with Egypt’s constitutional and international commitments to ensure the right to freedom of association.

    “While President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to order a review of Egypt’s repressive NGO law is encouraging, amending the law is not enough. It is crucial that the authorities develop a new law in consultation with independent civil society and take concrete steps to end the relentless assault on Egypt’s human rights community,” said Najia Bounaim, Head of Campaigns for North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 01, 2018

    The Egyptian authorities have stepped up their onslaught against the human rights community by arresting at least 19 human rights lawyers and activists in a series of raids carried out today, said Amnesty International. So far at least eight women and 11 men were arrested in raids which began in the early hours of this morning.

    The arrests prompted the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a prominent human rights organization that provides legal aid and carries out documentation, to suspend its activities, citing the hostile environment towards civil society in Egypt today.

    Among those arrested is the 60-year-old prominent human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoniem, a former member of the National Council for Human Rights. Security forces broke into her apartment and ransacked it before taking her to an undisclosed location. 

    October 31, 2018

    Responding to the news that human rights and labour lawyer Haytham Mohamdeen has been released from prison, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim said:

    “Amid the ongoing persecution of hundreds of peaceful activists across Egypt in recent years, Haytham Mohamdeen’s release is a small but welcome victory for human rights in the country and for all those who campaigned for his release. However, he should never have been detained in the first place.

    “The valuable work of lawyers such as Haytham Mohamdeen, who defend workers calling for better labour conditions, should be applauded by the Egyptian authorities, not punished with arbitrary detention.

    October 17, 2018

    Aser Mohamed in 2015 © Private

    DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION HERE

    A student named Aser Mohamed needs your help. 

    Terrible things have happened to him since January 12, 2016. That was the day armed police and security officers broke into his Cairo home. They took Aser away without following the law since they had no warrant to break into the house. (A warrant is a document needed to search a place or arrest someone.) 

    Aser was just 14.

    For 34 days, Aser’s family did not know where he was. When he was finally brought to court, it was without the help of his lawyer.

    All this is terrible enough, but then the government claimed he had done some violent things, like attacking a hotel in early January. When Aser told them he had not done that, they hurt him so badly that, to make them stop, he finally said he did. That confession could now be used to keep Aser in jail for 15 years!

    October 16, 2018

    “It was non-stop tear gas and shots were coming from rooftops and armoured vehicles... Shots were raining down on us...I saw people shot in the head and chest.” - Protester who witnessed the Rabaa massacre on 14 August 2013. 

    Amnesty analysis shows Egyptian security forces used French supplied military equipment to violently crush protests between 2012 and 2015 Despite EU ban and zero accountability measures by the Egyptian government, France continues to transfer arms to Egypt Footage analysed by Amnesty shows Egyptian security forces firing on protesters from within French supplied armoured vehicles

    An Amnesty International investigation published today reveals that armoured personnel carriers supplied by France were used with deadly effect by the Egyptian security forces to violently and repeatedly disperse protests and crush dissent.

    October 11, 2018

    Responding to the news that 17 people accused of carrying out three deadly church bombings in 2017, as well as attacks against security forces, have been sentenced to death by a military court in Alexandria today, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim said:

    “There can be no justification for the utterly reprehensible attacks which targeted worshippers in Coptic Christian churches across Egypt in 2017. There is no doubt that the perpetrators of these horrific attacks should be held accountable for their crimes. But handing out a mass death sentence after an unfair military trial is not justice and will not deter further sectarian attacks.

    “Egypt has a shocking track record of unlawfully trying civilians in its notorious military courts and sentencing scores to death after grossly unfair mass trials, often based on ‘confessions’ extracted through torture. Those accused of involvement in these heinous crimes must be retried in a civilian court in proceedings that comply with international human rights law and fair trial standards.”

    Background

    September 29, 2018

    Following the sentencing today of an Egyptian woman human rights defender, Amal Fathy, who has already spent 141 days in prison after being arbitrarily arrested for posting a Facebook video decrying sexual harassment and criticizing the Egyptian authorities for failing to protect women, to a two years suspended prison sentence with a bail of 20,000 EGP (1,120 USD) and a fine of 10,000 EGP (560 USD),  Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, said:

    “Amal Fathy is now facing a disgraceful sentence simply for her courage to speak out against sexual harassment. This is an outrageous case of injustice, where the survivor is sentenced while the abuser remains at large. She is a human rights defender and sexual harassment survivor, who told her truth to the world and highlighted the vital issue of women’s safety in Egypt. She is not a criminal and should not be punished for her bravery.

    September 20, 2018

    The crackdown on freedom of expression under Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi has reached alarming new levels unparalleled in Egypt’s recent history, Amnesty International said today as it launched a campaign calling for the unconditional and immediate release of all those who have been detained solely for peacefully expressing their views.

    The campaign, “Egypt, an Open-Air Prison for Critics”, is being launched in response to the unprecedented severity of the crackdown in Egypt, as people around the country increasingly express discontent with the economic and political situation. Amnesty International invites supporters from around the world to show solidarity with those risking their freedom to express their views by writing to the Egyptian government and calling for an end to the persecution.

    “It is currently more dangerous to criticize the government in Egypt than at any time in the country’s recent history. Egyptians living under President al-Sisi are treated as criminals simply for peacefully expressing their opinions,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    September 08, 2018

    Cairo Criminal Court today handed down 75 death sentences, 47 life sentences, and heavy prison sentences ranging from 15 to 5 years to 612 people, in a mass trial related to participation in the al-Rabaa sit-in on 14 August 2013. Among those sentenced was photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as “Shawkan”, who was sentenced to five years, which he has already served. Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said

    “These sentences were handed down in a disgraceful mass trial of more than 700 people, and we condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms. The death penalty should never be an option under any circumstances. The fact that not a single police officer has been brought to account for the killing of at least 900 people in the Rabaa and Nahda protests shows what a mockery of justice this trial was. The Egyptian authorities should be ashamed. We demand a retrial in an impartial court and in full respect of the right to a fair trial for all defendants, without recourse to the death penalty.

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