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Egypt

    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.

    February 01, 2015

    The continuing plight of Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy must not be forgotten as their colleague Peter Greste is deported from Egypt.© KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

    The continuing plight of Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy must not be forgotten as their colleague Peter Greste is deported from Egypt, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has been calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all three men since their arrest in December 2013.

    “The news that Peter Greste will finally be allowed to leave Egypt after more than a year in prison comes as a welcome relief, but nothing can make up for his ordeal. It is vital that in the celebratory fanfare surrounding his deportation the world does not forget the continuing ordeal of Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy who remain behind bars at Tora prison in Cairo,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa .

    January 31, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 1 February 2015

    Evidence gathered by Amnesty International published today indicates that the Egyptian authorities are attempting to cover up the deaths of more than two dozen people who were killed in protests marking the 2011 uprising last weekend.  

    Prosecutors have threatened eyewitnesses with arrest and at least 500 demonstrators, including two disabled people and children, and bystanders are being held in unofficial detention centres across the country. Two journalists were also detained while covering the protests.

    “The authorities have not only used unnecessary or excessive force but they also appear to have orchestrated a ‘cover up’ of the disastrous events of last weekend to hide the brutal reality that Egyptian security forces have once again resorted to arbitrary and abusive force to crush protesters,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director.

    January 25, 2015

    Joint Press Release by Amnesty International Canada and the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
    25 January 2015

    Several student unions in Canadian universities across Canada have adopted a statement of solidarity “with Egyptian students' right to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly”, and to a “campus environment that is free from fear, intimidation and police abuse.”

    The statement, signed by Ryerson Students’ Union, University of Regina Students’ Union, University of Victoria Students’ Society, University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union Executive Committee, Carleton University Graduate Students' Association, and Post Graduate Students’ Society of McGill University, called on the Canadian Government, civil society and human rights groups to exert all possible pressure on the Egyptian authorities to “drop all charges and immediately and unconditionally release all students arrested solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.” The statement was co-drafted by Amnesty International Canada and the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD).

    January 25, 2015

    By Tarek Chatila, Montreal-area activist and writer for Amnesty Canada’s Isr/OT/PA co-group

    “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” wrote French critic Alphonse Karr in 1849. Turbulent change, he observed, has a counterproductive tendency to reinforce the status quo.

    A truism which precisely reflects the state of human rights in Egypt today.

    Four years after electrifying scenes beamed around the world from Tahrir Square - a vast ocean of people congregating and chanting defiantly for democratic reform - the aspirations of the Egyptian people and the ‘January 25 Revolution’ have yet to be realized.

    And while the Egyptian popular uprising succeeded in deposing long-serving President Hosni Mubarak, successive administrations have failed to adequately address the endemic human rights violations which continue to plague the country.

    The faces have changed, but the policies remain much the same.

    January 25, 2015

    By Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program

    The streets are empty. The prisons are full. The fourth anniversary of Egypt’s “25 January Revolution” is passing largely in silence, with many of the young activists who led it now firmly behind bars.

    For many women in Egypt, this Sunday will bring back particularly bitter memories – of a brief moment when it seemed that a better future was finally within reach.

    Women stood alongside men throughout the 2011 uprising. However, in the years since they have faced a rising tide of violence and discrimination.

    And nowhere is safe.

    Shocking testimonies uncovered by Amnesty International show women enduring violence at the hands of their partners, the public and the police.

    Women are not safe at home. One woman told Amnesty International of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband:

    January 20, 2015

    More than 99 per cent of women in Egypt interviewed for a survey by UN Women in 2013 said that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment. © Melody Patry / Index on Censorship

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 21 January 2015

    Women and girls in Egypt face violence on a disturbing scale both at home and in public, including sexual mob attacks as well as torture in state custody, according to a new briefing by Amnesty International.

    ‘Circles of hell’: Domestic, public and state violence against women in Egypt documents how despite some recent piecemeal reforms, shortfalls in Egyptian laws and entrenched impunity continue to foster a culture of routine sexual and gender-based violence in the country. 

    January 16, 2015

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter to urge that you intervene in the case of Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, who has been imprisoned for over one year in Egypt, with a direct request to the Egyptian government that he be released immediately and unconditionally and allowed to return to Canada.  We appreciate Minister Baird’s efforts to resolve the case during his visit to Cairo this week.  However, the fact that Mr. Fahmy remains imprisoned, with no clear commitment from Egyptian authorities to release him, points to the necessity of you now becoming involved.  We note that Mr. Fahmy himself made that request of you yesterday; and we very much agree with him that action from you personally is now urgently required.

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