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  Update on Human Rights Defenders and Activists in Egypt
3 to 17 February 2020

After a release order, activist Shady Abu Zeid was accused in a new case. The appeal against researcher Patrick Zaki’s detention was rejected.

ARRESTS, TRIALS AND INVESTIGATIONS
Detention of blogger Mohamed Oxygen renewed

On 16 February, the supreme state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of blogger Mohamed Ibrahim (Oxygen) for 15 days after investigating him in state security case 1356/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, spreading false news and statements, and misusing social media.

Mohamed Ibrahim, known as Mohamed Oxygen, was arrested on 21 September 2019 in the context of the widespread arrest campaign following the anti-government protests which began on 20 September.

Appeal against human rights researcher Patrick Zaki’s detention rejected

On 15 February, Mansoura II Misdemeanours appeal court rejected the appeal against researcher Patrick Zaki’s detention, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. He will therefore continue in pre-trial detention until his next hearing before the prosecutor, scheduled for 22 February.

Patrick Zaki is a gender and human rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. He was arrested on his way back to Egypt for a visit from Italy, where he is doing a postgraduate degree, on 7 February. He subsequently disappeared for around 24 hours, during which time his lawyers say that he was tortured. He appeared in the prosecution the following day, where he was handed a pre-trial detention order.

Appeal against travel bans set for adjudication

On 15 February, South Cairo criminal court said it would rule on the appeal submitted by 11 human rights defenders challenging the travel bans issued against them by the investigating judge in the Foreign Funding case at a hearing scheduled for 23 April.

Since 2011, a number of NGO workers have been placed under travel ban and had their assets frozen as part of investigations into the alleged foreign funding of their organisations.

Detention of lawyer Ibrahim Metwally renewed

On 13 February, the supreme state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of human rights lawyer Ibrahim Metwally for 15 days in state security case 1470/2019, on charges of joining a terrorist group and funding terrorism.

Ibrahim Metwally founded the Association of the Families of the Disappeared after the disappearance of his own son.

After a release order, activist Shady Abu Zeid accused in new case

On 11 February, activist Shady Abu Zeid was detained for 15 days in state security case 1956/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group, according [Ar] to the Egyptian Front for Human Rights. This comes just one week after he received a release order from Cairo criminal court in case 621/2018, in which he had been detained since May 2018.

Shady Abu Zeid is a comedian and blogger who has posted videos tackling social issues like religion and xenophobia.

Detention of human rights lawyer Mahienour al-Massry renewed

On 11 February, Cairo criminal court renewed the pre-trial detention of human rights lawyer Mahienour al-Massry for 45 days in state security case 488/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, spreading false news and statements, and misusing social media.

Release order for ECRF board member Ahmed Abdel Fattah

On 10 February, a Cairo appeals misdemeanor court ordered the release of Ahmed Abdel Fattah, who is a board member of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, on bail of 10,000 EGP in emergency misdemeanours case 606/2019. The release order was implemented the following day.

Detention of ANHRI lawyer Amr Imam renewed

On 10 February, the state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of human rights lawyer Amr Imam for 15 days in state security case 488/2019, in which he faces charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, misusing social media, and spreading false news and statements.

Amr Imam is a human rights lawyer with the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, ANHRI, who co-produce this newsletter.

Detention of activist Sameh Seoudi renewed

On 9 February, the supreme state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of activist Sameh Seoudi for 15 days in state security case 1338/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group, misusing social media, spreading false news and statements, and protesting without notifying the competent authorities.

Gamal Eid’s appeal against travel ban set for adjudication

On 8 February, the Court of Administrative Justice extended the sentencing hearing in appeal 7720/72, submitted by human rights lawyer Gamal Eid challenging his travel ban, to a hearing on 22 February.

Gamal Eid is the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, ANHRI. He has been under travel ban since February 2016, when he was prevented from boarding a flight to Athens from Cairo.

Appeal by human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan rejected

On 5 February, Alexandria Criminal Court turned down the appeal submitted by human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan challenging the decision to detain him for 45 days in Montazah case 16576/2018, and consequently upheld the continuation of the lawyer's pre-trial detention. He faces charges of joining a terrorist group, spreading false news and statements, and inciting protests.

Mohamed Ramadan is a human rights lawyer based in Alexandria who has used his legal expertise to defend activists and political prisoners in Egypt.

Detention of blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah renewed

On 5 February, the supreme state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah for 15 days in state security case 1356/2019, on charges of joining a terrorist group, funding terrorism, spreading and broadcasting false news and statements, and misusing the internet.

Alaa Abdel Fattah previously served a five-year sentence for “organising a protest” against military trials for civilians in front of the Shura Council.

Detention of journalist Hossam al-Sayyad renewed

On 4 February, the supreme state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of journalist Hossam al-Sayyad for 15 days in state security case 488/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, publishing and broadcasting false news and statements, and misusing social media.

Hossam al-Sayyad was arrested with his wife, Solafa Magdy, who is also a journalist.

Detention of activist Esraa Abdel Fattah renewed

On 4 February, the state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah for 15 days in state security case 488/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, publishing and broadcasting false news and statements, and misusing social media.

Esraa Abdel Fattah is a prominent human rights and democracy activist who has advocated in defence of youth protest movements in Egypt.

Release of labour leader Kamal Khalil

On 4 February, Giza criminal court ordered the release of labour activist Kamal Khalil with precautionary measures in state security case 488/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, spreading false news and statements, and misusing social media. The precautionary measures stipulate that he must visit the police station two days a week, and they will take effect for the next 45 days. Mr Khalil was released by Al-Nozha police station on 11 February in implementation of the court’s decision, after spending 7 days in illegal detention.  

Precautionary measures against journalist Hisham Gaafar continue

On 4 February, Giza criminal court ordered the continuation of precautionary measures issued against journalist Hisham Gaafar for 45 days in state security case 720/2015, in which he faces charges of joining a terrorist group and receiving foreign bribes. The precautionary measures mean that he has to spend two hours a week in the police station.

Hisham Gaafar is the director of the Mada Foundation for Media Development.

Detention of human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer renewed

On 4 February, the supreme state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer for 15 days in state security case 1356/2019. He faces charges of joining a terrorist group, funding terrorism, spreading and broadcasting false news and statements, and misusing the internet.

Mohamed el-Baqer is a human rights lawyer and director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms.

Detention of journalist Khaled Daoud renewed

On 3 February, the state security prosecution renewed the pre-trial detention of journalist Khaled Daoud for 15 days in state security case 488/2019, on charges of engaging with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, spreading false news and statements, and misusing social media. This is after the prosecution went to the journalist's prison as he was unable to be transferred to the prosecution's headquarters.
 
 
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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