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."
The Honourable Chris Alexander
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
House of Commons
The Honourable Rob Nicholson
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
April 13, 2015
Dear Minister Alexander and Minister Nicholson,
We are writing this Open Letter to reiterate and update Amnesty International’s concerns with respect to the case of Mohamed Fahmy. We have written frequently to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State (Consular Affairs), ever since Mr. Fahmy was first arrested in December 2013. We are including Minister Alexander at this time because we have specific concerns with respect to the challenges Mr. Fahmy faces in obtaining a replacement for his Canadian passport. Consistent with the critical importance of taking a strong stand in defence of Mr. Fahmy’s internationally protected human rights, we are calling on the government to ensure that he receives a passport without delay.
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:
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.
Amnesty International Ireland Release - Irish Government can no longer expect ‘due process’
Ibrahim Halawa, the Irish 19 year old, who is in prison in Egypt for 18 months without trial on trumped up charges, has seen his trial postponed again to 29 March according to his family.
This is the fourth postponement of the trial of Ibrahim Halawa and 493 others since he was arrested on 17 August 2013 while hiding from gunfire in Al Fath mosque in Cairo.
“This latest episode is devastating for Ibrahim’s family. He has now spent 541 days in pre-trial detention simply for protesting peacefully. By any international standard of justice, this is absolutely unacceptable,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.
Amnesty International has called yet again on the Egyptian authorities to release Ibrahim immediately and unconditionally with all charges against him dropped as is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly.
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).
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.
Widespread student protests against the repressive practices of the current government have rocked Egypt since the academic year began on October 11th. The subsequent crackdown by the authorites has been marked by arbitrary and excessive use of force resulting in hundreds of arrests and injuries.
Amnesty International Canada and the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy have co-authored the following statement of solidarity:
We, the undersigned student associations and clubs, are following closely the situation in Egypt and the violation of the basic human rights of Egyptian students in universities all over Egypt since the start of the school year there in October.
The sentencing today by the Cairo Criminal Court of leading activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others to 15 years in prison on politically motivated charges is an outrageous travesty of justice, said Amnesty International.
“Protesting peacefully is not a crime. If held solely for taking part in a protest, the activists must be released immediately and unconditionally," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
"It's deeply troubling that, just days into Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's presidency, courts are already jailing government critics. By locking up one of the leading activists in Egypt, the authorities are sending a clear message that they will not tolerate anyone daring to challenge or criticise them."
The activists were tried in relation to a peaceful protest which took place outside the Shura Council last November by the “No To Military Trial” group.
The group was protesting against the inclusion of a provision allowing the trial of civilians before military courts by the Drafting Committee of the Constitution.
The Honourable John Baird
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
April 15, 2014
Dear Minister Baird,
We are writing this Open Letter to you in advance of your trip to Egypt later this week. In the face of a deeply troubling human rights crisis in Egypt, your visit offers a crucial opportunity to convey a clear message that Canada looks to the Egyptian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to address the continuing deterioration in the country’s human rights situation. Amnesty International members across Canada are calling on you to make it clear that Canada expects the Egyptian government to commit to a program of action to protect the human rights of all Egyptians.
In addition to raising these very serious overarching concerns about the state of human rights protection in Egypt, we are calling on you to press for action with respect to three particular situations:
The Egyptian authorities must ensure ousted President Mohamed Morsi appears in court on Monday and is granted immediate access to a lawyer and all his rights of defence, said Amnesty International.
The former President and 14 others, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party and other Islamist groups, are due to stand trial on 4 November on charges of murder and inciting violence.
Mohamed Morsi and several of his aides have been held virtually incommunicado and in secret detention since 3 July in conditions that amount to enforced disappearance.
“Tomorrow’s trial is a test for the Egyptian authorities. They should present Mohamed Morsi in court and grant him a fair trial, including the right to challenge the evidence against him in court. Failing to do so would further call into question the motives behind his trial,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.