Alert: 7 people are still imprisoned 1 year after crackdown on human rights in Belarus
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of Messrs. Karim Ennarah and Gasser Abdel Razeq, Director and Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights


New information

EGY 006 / 1120 / OBS 127.1

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

November 20,

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), hasreceived new information and requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Egyptian Initiativefor Personal Rights (EIPR)[1]about the arbitrary detentions of Mr. KarimEnnarah, the Director of the criminal justice unit and of Mr. Gasser Abdel Razeq, theExecutive Director of EIPR.

According to the information received, on November 18, 2020, at 2pm, Mr.Karim Ennarah was arrested by four plain-clothed National Security Agencyofficers in a restaurant in Dahab (South Sinai) were he was on vacation, aftersecurity forces had visited on November 17, 2020, Mr. Ennarah’s home in Cairoin order to arrest him, but without finding him then. The officers questionedhim during a few minutes, requested him to give them his phone and took him tothe local police station. After Mr. Ennarah’s arrest, police officers raidedhis hotel room, where they seized his ID, laptop and other belongings.

Mr. Ennarah then appeared in front of the Supreme State SecurityProsecutor (SSSP) in Cairo and after an interrogation that lasted for fourhours and where EIPR lawyers were present, the SSSP ordered Karim Ennarah’s pretrial detention for 15 days per casen°855/2020 pending investigations over charges of “joining a terrorist group”,“using a social media account to spread false news” and “spreading false news”.The prosecutor based the charges on security investigations showing that KarimEnnarah “agreed with a group inside prisons to spread false rumours that couldundermine public peace and public safety.”

On November 19, 2020, securityforces arrested Mr. Gasser Abdel-Razeq from his home in Cairo and took him toan unknown location. He later appeared and was interrogated at the SSSP, whoordered his pretrial detention for 15 days in case n°855/2020 pendinginvestigations into similar charges of “joining a terrorist group”,“disseminating false statements to undermine public security”, and “using theinternet to publish false news”.

Mr Ennarah and Mr. Abdel-Razeq are currently being detainedat Tora Prison Complex.

The Observatory underlines that these new arbitrary detentions come in acontext of widespread crackdown against the EIPR and is taking place only a fewdays after the arbitrary arrest and subsequent detention of the organisation'sAdministrative Manager, Mr. Mohamed Basheer (see backgroundinformation). In addition, media outlets affiliated with the GeneralIntelligence Service have been leading a smear campaign against the EIPR, aimedat discrediting their work[2].

The Observatory deplores this series of attacks against this renownedand respected human rights organisation and calls on the Egyptian authoritiesto put an end to the systematic targeting of the EIPR and its members.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention of Mr.Karim Ennarah and of Mr. Gasser Abdel Razeq, as it seems to be only aimed atpunishing them for their legitimate human rights activities, and urges theEgyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and todrop all charges against them.

Background information:

After midnight on November 15, 2020, security forces arrested Mr. Mohamed Basheer at his house, in Cairo. He was then broughtto an unidentified State Security Sector facility where he was detained for 12hours and questioned about the visit of several ambassadors and diplomats toEIPR premises on November 3, 2020, during which the human rights situation inEgypt and in the world was discussed. After this interrogation, he appearedbefore the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) of the Fifth Settlementdistrict, where he was questioned about EIPR’s work, its latest publicationsand its legal aid work.

Subsequently, the SSSP charged Mr. Basheer with “joining aterrorist organisation with knowledge of its purposes”, “using a personalaccount on the internet to spread false information that undermines publicsecurity”, “committing one of the crimes of funding terrorism”, “broadcastingfalse news and statements that undermines public security” and “harmingnational interest”, and decided to remand him in custody for 15 days and toresume the questioning at a later date. The prosecution added Mr. MohamedBasheer to case n°855/2020 alongside with several other activists and humanrights professionals, including lawyers Mohammed El Baqer[3]and Mahinour El Masry[4].Mr. Basheer is currently detained at Tora Investigation Prison.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychologicalwell-being of Messrs. Karim Ennarah, Gasser Abdel-Razeq and Mohamed Basheer aswell as of all other human rights defenders in Egypt;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Karim Ennarah,Gasser Abdel-Razeq and MohamedBasheer as well as all other human rights defendersprosecuted under the same case;

iii. Put an end to any form of harassment, including at the judiciallevel, against Messrs. Karim Ennarah, Gasser Abdel-Razeq and Mohamed Basheer,as well as all other human rights defenders in Egypt;

iv. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, inparticular with Articles 1, and 12.2;

v. Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in allcircumstances, in accordance with international human rights standards andinternational instruments to which Egypt is a State party.


President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattahel-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email:, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

PrimeMinister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed.

Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik,Email:

Ministerof Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103

PublicProsecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716

Head of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee,Mr. Alaa Abed, Email:

Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Councilfor Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email:

H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission ofEgypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email:

Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88;Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Egypt in yourrespective countries.


Paris-Geneva, November 20, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is toprevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDHand OMCT are both members of, the EuropeanUnion Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civilsociety.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:


TelFIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

Tel OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

[1] The EgyptianInitiative for Personal Rights has been working since 2002 to strengthen andprotect basic rights and freedoms in Egypt, through research, advocacy andsupporting litigation in the fields of civil liberties, economic and socialrights, and criminal justice.

[2] See two articles published by Youm7 and Sawt al-Omma (in Arabic).

[3] See Joint statementInternationalNGOs call for the immediate release of human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqerand Alaa Abdel Fattah on the first anniversary of their arrest’, published on September 29, 2020

[4] See the Observatory Urgent Appeal EGY 003 / 0919 / OBS 074, published on September 23, 2019.

Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts