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  Situation of human rights defenders in Egypt
1 to 15 November 2020
On 15 November, Mohammed Basheer, administrative and human rights manager at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, was arrested. His colleague, Karim Ennarah, the director of criminal justice, was also arrested on 18 November while in vacation in South Sinai and was escorted by national security officers to an undisclosed location. Authorities are increasing the crackdown on human rights defenders.
ARRESTS, TRIALS AND INVESTIGATIONS
Detention of activist Mohamed Adel renewed  
 
On 1 November, Al-Mansoura Criminal Court renewed the detention of 32-year-old political activist Mohamed Adel for 45 days in state security case 5606/2018, in which he is charged with joining a terrorist group and spreading false news. He was released in 2017 after a three-year sentence for protesting, but was still required to sleep every night at the police station for three years. In June 2018, he was detained again for “spreading false news.” 

Detention of labour activist Khalil Rezk renewed 
 
On 2 November, Giza Criminal Court renewed the detention of labour rights activist Khalil Rezk for 45 days in state security case 1475/2019, in which he is accused of cooperating with a terrorist group, misusing social media, and spreading false news.  

Detention of human rights lawyer Zyad El-Elaimy and journalists Hisham Fouad and Hossam Moanis renewed 
 
On 2 November, Cairo Criminal Court extended the detention of human rights lawyer Zyad El-Elaimy, and journalists Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad for 45 days in state security case 930/2019, in which they are charged with cooperating with a terrorist group and spreading false news.  

Zyad El-Elaimy is a human rights lawyer, former parliamentarian and a leader of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party. He was a renowned figure of the 2011 uprising. He was arrested on 25 June 2019 and held incommunicado for 14 days, before reappearing. Zyad is in poor health, whereby he suffers from asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and a rare immunity disease, however he has been denied appropriate medical care. Moreover, his abysmal detention conditions – including lack of proper ventilation and access to sunlight – have led to a deterioration in his health. 

Zyad’s arrest was part of a widespread arbitrary arrest campaign launched at the end of June 2019 that targeted those coordinating to participate in the parliamentary elections next year through an opposition alliance called “Hope.” On 10 March 2020, Zyad was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 20,000 EGP in a second case related to a TV interview he gave to BBC Arabic in 2017. 

Pre-trial detention of blogger Mohamed Oxygen replaced with precautionary measures 
 
On 3 November, Giza Criminal Court replaced the pre-trial detention of blogger Mohamed Oxygen with precautionary measures in state security case 1356/2019, in which he is charged with cooperating with a terrorist group and disseminating false news.  

However, on 10 November, days after being ordered released on probation, which hadn’t been implemented, the Supreme State Security Prosecution interrogated blogger Mohamed Oxygen in a new state security case (855/2020), accusing him of joining a terrorist group, and extending his pre-trial detention. This practice, known as “recycling” cases, is a common occurrence with human rights defenders and activists.  

Mohamed Ibrahim Radwan (known as Mohamed Oxygen), who was first arrested on 6 April 2018, is an Egyptian blogger and employee in a publishing house who, in addition to his blog, runs a Facebook page and a Youtube channel called Oxygen Egypt where he publishes reports on human rights issues and interviews with human rights activists, opposition figures and public personalities.

Gamal Eid's appeal against his travel ban adjourned  
 
On 7 November, the Court of Administrative Justice adjourned appeal 7720/72 submitted by human rights lawyer Gamal Eid to challenge the travel ban order issued against him by the judge in what is known as the “foreign funding” case. The appeal was postponed to 30 November. 

Gamal Eid is a prominent human rights defender and executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).  

On 4 February 2016, Mr Eid was prevented from boarding a flight to Athens by Cairo Airport officials.  He had no prior knowledge, no notification or summons for investigation regarding the travel ban and did not receive any information about the judicial body responsible for it. 

Since October 2019, Gamal Eid has suffered several attacks, including physical assault in the street, the smashing of a car that he was borrowing from one of his colleagues after his own car was stolen and being beaten and thrown paint at. 

Sanaa Seif's trial adjourned 
 
On 10 November, Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the trial of activist Sanaa Seif in state security case 12499/2020, on charges of publishing false news, insulting a public employee and a police officer, and misusing social media. Her trial was postponed to 15 December.  

Sanaa Seif is a woman human rights defender and film editor. She is the youngest sister of prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been in pre-trial detention since September 2019. 

Mohammed Basheer arrested and detained

Mohammed Basheer, administrative and human rights manager at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), was arrested on 15 November and detained incommunicado in a security facility for 12 hours before being transferred to the prosecution. He was questioned about a meeting with diplomats of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Commission in Cairo at the offices of EIPR. The prosecution has decided to detain him for 15 days. He is accused of joining a terrorist organisation and funding terrorist activity.


 
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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