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Egypt

    EGYPT: DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST AZZA SOLIMAN

    Arrested for defending Women's Rights in Egypt. 

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    Egypt’s human rights crisis continued unabated. The authorities used torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance against hundreds of people, and dozens were extrajudicially executed with impunity. The crackdown on civil society includes, targetting NGO staff, arbitrary arrests and detentions of government critics, peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders. Mass unfair trials continued before civilian and military courts, with dozens sentenced to death. Women continued to be subjected to sexual and gender-based violence and were discriminated against in law and practice. The authorities brought criminal charges for defamation of religion and “habitual debauchery” on the basis of people’s real or perceived sexual orientation.

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FOCUSES ON:

    Human rights defenders

    The authorities continued to curb the work of human rights defenders in an unprecedented manner as part of their relentless efforts to silence all critical voices. NGO staff have been subjected to additional interrogations, travel bans and asset freezes. In February the authorities shut down the El-Nadeem Center, an NGO offering support to survivors of torture and violence. 

    In May 2017, President al-Sisi signed a draconian new law giving the authorities broad powers to deny NGOs registration, dissolve NGOs and dismiss their boards of administration. The law also provided for five years’ imprisonment for publishing research without government permission. The government had not issued the executive regulations to enable it to start implementing the law by the end of the year.

     

    Egypt: Help release detained photographer Shawkan

    Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (known as Shawkan) was arrested, tortured and jailed for taking photos of security forces’ violent behaviour

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    Freedoms of expression and assembly

    Between January and May 2017, courts sentenced at least 15 journalists to prison terms ranging from three months to five years on charges related solely to their writing, including defamation and the publication of what the authorities deemed “false information”. From May onwards, the authorities blocked at least 434 websites, including those of independent newspapers such as Mada Masr and human rights organizations such as the Arab Network for Human Rights Information. In March the Minister of Justice referred two judges, Hisham Raouf and Assem Abdelgabar, to a disciplinary hearing for participating in a workshop organized by an Egyptian human rights group to draft a law against torture.

    Security forces arrested at least 240 political activists and protesters between April and September on charges relating to online posts the authorities considered “insulting” to the President or for participating in unauthorized protests. In April, a criminal court sentenced lawyer and activist Mohamed Ramadan to 10 years’ imprisonment in his absence under the draconian Counter-terrorism Law. 

    Egypt: Held for addressing sexual harassment

    Egyptian authorities ordered the pre-trial detention of woman human rights defender Amal Fathy for a Facebook video.

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    Detention

    Torture and other ill-treatment remained routine in official places of detention and was systematic in detention centres run by the National Security Agency. In July, a Coptic man was arrested and detained in Manshyet Nasir police station in the capital, Cairo, in relation to a minor offence; 15 hours later, he was dead. Family members stated that they saw bruises on the upper part of his body, and the official autopsy report stated that his death was the result of a “suspected criminal act”.

    Prison authorities, including in Tora Maximum Security Prison and Wadi el-Natrun Prison, punished prisoners detained for politically motivated reasons by placing them in indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement. In February the Ministry of the Interior amended the prison regulations to allow solitary confinement to be increased up to six months; a practice that can amount to torture or other ill-treatment. 

    WHAT'S NEW? 

    Egypt: Government responds to Amnesty International’s report on cruel and unlawful use of solitary confinement MAY 07, 2018

    Egypt: Lawyer and human rights defender Ezzat Ghonim at risk of enforced disappearance MARCH 02, 2018

    Egypt: Use of banned cluster bombs in North Sinai confirmed by Amnesty International MARCH 01, 2018

    ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18: State-sponsored hate spurs new era of social activism FEBRUARY 22, 2018