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Situation of human rights defenders and activists in Egypt
9 May - 6 June 2021
COVID-19 highlights Egypt's health sector crisis

The Covid-19 crisis highlights the inefficiencies of the Egyptian healthcare system, but also inequalities in access to healthcare. Frederik Johannisson, Economic and Social Rights Programme Officer at EuroMed Rights, points out that the slow progress of the vaccination campaign is, at least partly, due to a lack of public awareness and trust from the Egyptian population. Health officials announced that even doctors were hesitant to take the vaccine. No campaigns have reached out to the population to encourage them to enrol, which leaves an enormous number of people unaware of the vaccine’s availability, including the 32% living beneath the poverty line.

The slow rate of vaccination reflects poor health infrastructure. The Egyptian population suffers from unequal access to vaccines against Covid-19, as a consequence of Egypt’s dependency on other countries to provide vaccine doses, but also of unfair distribution processes. In April 2021, lawmakers and their families were invited to receive their first injection, while the elderly were still waiting.

Furthermore, since the beginning of the pandemic, 520 doctors passed away after contracting the virus, while doctors who have protested their working conditions were arrested. The Egyptian doctor’s union has called on the Egyptian Ministry of Health to grant financial compensation to the families of the deceased doctors. Their call remains unheeded.

ARRESTS, TRIALS AND INVESTIGATIONS

Detention renewal of human rights lawyer Amr Imam & journalist Ahmed Shaker

On 6 June, Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of human rights lawyer Amr Imam and journalist Ahmed Shaker for 45 days pending investigation in case 488/2019. They face charges of joining a terrorist group, misusing social media and publishing false news.

Amr Imam is a human rights lawyer with the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and has been detained since 16 October 2019.

Ahmed Shaker is an Egyptian journalist at the state-owned newspaper Rose El-Yousef and has been detained since 28 November 2019.


Detention renewal of activist Mohamed Adel

On 30 May, the Mansoura Prosecutor renewed the detention of activist Mohamed Adel for 15 days in case 4118/2018. He faces charges of joining a terrorist group and publishing false news. On 18 May, Mansoura Criminal Court rejected the appeal of Mohamed Adel against the decision of his pre-trial detention in case 4118/2018.

Mohamed Adel is a human rights activist and is one of the founders of the April 6 youth movement in Egypt. He has been detained since June 2018.


Detention renewal of human rights lawyer Mahienour Al-Masry and journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah

On 25 May, Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of human rights lawyer Mahienour Al-Masry and journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah for 45 days in state security case 488/2019. They face charges of joining a terrorist group, misusing social media and publishing false news.

Esraa Abdel Fattah is an Egyptian political activist. She advocates through digital media for human rights and in defence of youth protest movements in Egypt. She has been detained in the women’s prison of Qanater since 12 October 2019.


Detention renewal of Yehia Hussein Abdel Hady

On 25 May, Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of Yehia Hussein Abdel Hady for 45 days in state security case 277/2019, in which he faces charges of joining a terrorist group and publishing false news.

Yehia Hussein Abdel Hadi is an engineer and the former spokesperson of the Egyptian Civil Democratic Movement. He participated in the boycott of the 2018 presidential election.

 

Trial of Dr Yahya al-Qazzaz adjourned

On 24 May, the Disciplinary Council at Helwan University adjourned the hearing of Dr. Yahya Al-Qazzaz in the two lawsuits 2/2018 and 1/2020 filed by the Dean of Helwan University to 5 July. He is accused of posting offensive phrases to the President of the Republic on social media, breaching his job duties as a university faculty member, and joining a terrorist group.


Detention renewal of labour activist Rashad Kamal

On 23 May, Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of labour activist Rashad Kamal for 45 days in case 1056/2020. He is facing the charge of joining a terrorist group.


Detention renewal of Dr Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh

On 9 May, Cairo Criminal Court renewed the detention of Dr Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh for 45 days in state security case 440/2018. He faces charges of establishing and leading a terrorist group and publishing false news and information.

Dr Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh is the head of the Strong Egypt Party and ran as an independent candidate for presidency in 2012. He is known for his strong opposition to the Sadat and Mubarak regimes. He was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood until 2011. He was arrested on 16 February 2018 and is being held in Tora prison.

The crackdown of the Egyptian authorities on civil society organisations, journalists, and political dissidents has dramatically worsened since the military seized power in July 2013.

EuroMed Rights, in partnership with ANHRI aims to inform an interested audience at the EU level and in European/international media about the specific targeting of human rights defenders and activists in the country, as well as prisoners of conscience and defenders of freedom of expression.

If you wish to obtain more information on individual cases, you can visit EuroMed Rights' Egypt information website or send an e-mail to: egypt@euromedrights.net
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