Policies And Legislatives Reforms Program 1

The regime in Egypt: From the oppressive systematic policy to an open war against the Egyptian civil society

مُتاح أيضًا بـ: العربية (Arabic)

In a shocking escalation, The Egyptian authorities arrested Jaser Abdel Razek, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights from his home in Maadi, by a security force, to join two EIPR employees who were arrested in the past few days.  On November 18th, security forces arrested Karim Anara, director of the criminal justice unit of the initiative, in the southern Sinai city of Dahab. Previously, on November 15th, the administrative director of the Initiative, Mohamed Bashir, was also arrested from his home. All of them have joined their colleague Patrick. George Zaki.

جاسر عبد الرازق المدير التنفيذي للمبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية
Jasser Abdel Razek, Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

The State Security Prosecution included Jaser and his two companions in the case No. 855/2020, which includes a number of human rights activists, politicians and journalists, such as lawyers Amr Imam, Mohamed Al-Baqir, Mahinor al-Masri and journalists Sulfa Magdi, Isra Abdel Fattah, and Mohamed Salah. This case, which began to take the nickname ‘Dawama’ (whirlpool), involves a group of persons ,who have nothing to do with each other, facing baseless accusations backed by a falsified record of investigations and illogical facts. This includes, the accusation against journalist Isra Abdel Fattah and lawyer Mohamed Al-Baqir to participate in a criminal agreement, intended to commit a terrorist crime from within the prison. This accusation is being held despite the fact that they are each detained in different prisons.

 The prosecution’s decision imprisoned each of them for 15 days on remand and the charges against them were:

‘Joining a terrorist group while aware of its purpose, using a private account on the Internet to spread false news that would undermine public security, commit a crime of financing terrorism, broadcast false news and statements that would undermine public security and harm the national interest’.

The EIPR noted that these unprecedented punitive measures are a direct reaction to its activities in the field of international defense and advocacy. The measures are targeting its public and legitimate meetings with a number of diplomatic missions, most recently, a meeting held at the initiative’s headquarters on November 3rd with 13 accredited ambassadors and diplomats in Cairo in order to review the human rights situation.

 The aforementioned countries, which are members of the United Nations, and Egypt have pledged, in the Human Rights Council, to work together and improve the human rights situation in the world, to open their files in this area to each other and to integrate civil society organizations into the work of the Council and to give them the right to report and address the Council. This meeting was not the first of its kind and will not be the last, as international support and advocacy activities are an essential part of the initiative’s work to improve the human rights conditions of all Egyptians. Moreover,it does not depart from the legal and constitutional framework governing their work or the work of those missions.

The declaration of war on the initiative is a new episode of the successive Egyptian regimes’ persecution of human rights activism in Egypt and its activists. It seems that, in the next phase, the current regime will not be content with the prosecution and restrictions that it has been accustomed to for years in dealing with human rights activism. The regime moved to use his judicial arm and to append human rights lawyers, in Egypt with those who were defending them in the State Security Prosecution issuing endless remand orders.

DAAM Center notes that the continued restrictions on human rights activism by the Authorities in Egypt is a path that leads to further repression and negatively affects the regime’s relationship with citizens, opening the door for extremist groups to attract more elements that have not been able to participate in democratic ways.

DAAM Center asserts that the twisted handling of laws and their use in the pursuit of citizens by the authorities is a behavior that does not lead to the rule of law advocated by all.

Therefore, the judiciary is solicited to restore its positions in the support of public freedoms and the protection of citizens, instead of making baseless accusations, and to the immediate release of all EIPR workers unconditionally.

Also, the center values all the efforts of individuals who continue to defy the oppressive system, knowing that there is no way of democracy without offering many visions and views and no way to change without fighting various peaceful battles, even if this carries the risk of prosecution, detention and defamation by the current regime.

Background

The prosecution of human rights organisations and their employees was not limited to the case of funding, but varied between various cases. Security forces raided the headquarters of AL-Nadeem Center and Clinic for the rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture. Al-Nadeem center was closed by a decision of the Ministry of Health. Furthermore, armed officers physically assaulted Jamal Eid, the director of the Arabic Network for human rights information, near his home.

Indicators and tools of the open war

  • Amendments to the NGO Act :  From Law No. 32 of 1964 on private associations and institutions, to Law No. 70 of 2017, the most restrictive of civil work, and in its worst amended version No. 149 of 2019.
  • The case of funding civil society organizations: The Policy Index of the Blockade and Restrictions: Case n° 173/2011 was initiated after the report of the fact-finding committee formed by the Cabinet’s decision on July 3, 2011, on the status of NGO funding. Forty-three NGO workers were accused of running an organization and obtaining funding from a foreign government without authorization. The case was divided into two parts, one targeting foreign NGOs and the other for local organizations.
  • June 2013: All defendants in the funding case, including 17 Other U.S. citizens and foreigners and Egyptians, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to five years, and in large numbers were sentenced in absentia. The court also ordered the closure of the accused NGOs, including the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom.
  •  February 2016: The case of funding resurfaced more seriously this time against Hossam Bahgat, founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and Jamal Eid, founder and director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, where they were banned from travelling and the investigating judge issued a request to preserve the funds of Hossam and Jamal Eid, his wife and minor daughter,
  •           19 November -07 December 2016: Summons, travel ban and arrest of Egyptian feminist activist and lawyer Azza Suleiman, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Egyptian Women Legal Assistance center, in connection with the funding issue
  •           11 January 2017: The forfeiture of the properties of Mazin Hussein, The Nazra Foundation for Women’s Studies and others…
  •         09 February 2017: Forces raid the headquarters of the Nadeem Centre and Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, and closed it by force by decision of the Ministry of Health,
  •           09 October 2018: Travel ban against human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, founder of the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights
  •           December 29, 2019: Attack against Jamal Eid: Armed officers assaulted the director of the Arab Network near his home, doused him in paint, threatened his neighbors and citizens who tried to defend him with guns. It was the fourth attack against Jamal Eid, after stealing his car at the beginning of October 2018, then assaulting him by beating and breaking his ribs on October 10, and smashing his colleague’s car at the end of October.
  •           September 20, 2019: An estimated 8,000 people were randomly arrested, and the lawyers defending them were arrested too later. This was the case of lawyer Mohamed Al-Baqir, who was detained by the State Security Prosecution, while he was legally defending the activist Alaa Abdel Fattah. the lawyer Mahinor al-Masri was arrested while she was leaving the same prosecutor’s office. Few days later the human rights lawyer Amr Imam was arrested too, as well as journalist Israa Abdel Fattah, who was tortured after her arrest.

مُتاح أيضًا بـ: العربية (Arabic)

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