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Egypt
03.12.20
Urgent Interventions

Conditional release and continuing judicial harassment of human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information

EGY 005 / 1218 / OBS 142.1
Conditional release /

Judicial harassment

Egypt
December 3, 2020


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 intervention in the followingsituation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources aboutthe conditional release and continuing judicial harassment of Mr. MohamedRamadan, a human rights lawyer who previously worked for the Arabic Networkfor Human Rights Information (ANHRI)[1].

According to the information received, on December 2, 2020,Alexandria Criminal Court ordered the release of Mr. Mohamed Ramadan, with abail of 5,000 EGP (approximately 270 Euros), pending Criminal Case 16576/2018,after nearly two years of pre-trial arbitrary detention. The order had not beenexecuted at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Ramadan was arrested onDecember 10, 2018 shortly after posting a picture of himself wearing a yellowvest in solidarity with French anti-government protesters (see backgroundinformation). His arrest came as the Egyptian authorities set restrictionsto sales of yellow vests fearing opponents may use them in anti-governmentprotests around the eighth anniversary of the January 2011 uprising thattoppled former autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The Observatory welcomes the Court’s decision to release Mr.Mohamed Ramadan on bail, but recalls that he should never have been detained inthe first place, his detention being arbitrary as it only aimed at sanctioninghis legitimate human rights activities and exercice of his freedom ofexpression.

The Observatory calls on the Egyptian authorities toimmediately and unconditionally release Mr. Mohamed Ramadan, and to put an endany act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and allhuman rights defenders in the country.

Background information:

Mr. Mohamed Ramadan was arrested on December 10, 2018, byplainclothes security officers while coming back to his home in Alexandriaafter he attended an investigation with one of his clients. He was taken to theNational Security Agency headquarter in Alexandria and his fate and whereaboutsremained unknown to his family and lawyers until he appeared before theMontazah (Alexandria) prosecution on December 11, 2018.

On December 11, 2018, the Montazah prosecution ordered Mr.Mohamed Ramadan’s pre-trial detention for 15 days pending investigation underCriminal Case 16576/2018 over charges of “spreading false news”, “joininga terrorist group and promoting his ideas”, “using social media to propagatethe goals of a terrorist group” and “possessing pamphlets and yellow vests tocall for protests against the government similar to the ‘Yellow Vest’ protestsin France”, for allegedly posting a picture of himself in his Facebookaccount wearing a yellow vest in reference to the French “gilets jaunes”social protests and possessing five yellow vests at his place. Mr. MohamedRamadan denied the charges and his lawyer reminded that Egyptian law does notcriminalise the possession of a yellow vest.

His pre-trial detention was constantly renewed up toDecember 2, 2020. Moreover, during his detention, Mr. Ramadan was refused arequest to visit his sick mother and to attend her funeral.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Ramadan has been subject toharassment on previous occasions. In June 2017, he was fined 50,000 EGP (around2,455 Euros) on charges of “conspiring to protest and disrupt a publicthroughway” following his participation in peaceful protests, but appealedagainst the decision and was later acquitted of these charges at the end of2017.

On April 12, 2017, Mr. Ramadan was sentenced in absentia- as he was in hospital at that time and the court refused to reschedulethe hearing - to ten years in prison followed by five years of housearrest, and banned from using Internet and social media for five years, oncharges of “insulting the president”, “misusing social media”, and “incitingviolence” under the 2015 anti-terrorism law[2]for his alleged involvement in protests over Egypt’s transfer of Tiran andSanafir islands to Saudi Arabia. A retrial was requested by Mr. Ramadan’slawyer and ordered in July 2017 but was suspended in June 2018 and will remainso pending a Supreme Constitutional Court’s decision on the anti-terrorism law,under which articles Mr. Ramadan was charged.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical andpsychological integrity of Mr. Mohamed Ramadan and all human rights defendersin Egypt;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. MohamaedRamadan and all human rights defenders in Egypt;

iii. End any act of harassment, including at the judiciallevel, against Mr. Mohamed Ramadan and ensure all the human rights defendersare able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fearof reprisals;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the UnitedNations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN GeneralAssembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, and 12;

v. Ensure in allcircumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordancewith international human rights standards and international instrumentsratified by Egypt.

Addresses:

  • President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
  • Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg
  • Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg
  • Head of the Egyptian Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email: humanrightscomplaints@parliament.gov.eg
  • Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council for Human Rights, Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg
  • H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@bluewin.ch
  • Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

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

***

Paris-Geneva, December 3, 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 ProtectDefenders.eu, the EuropeanUnion Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civilsociety.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

· Tel OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39


[1] Foundedin 2004, ANHRI is anon-governmental organization that promotes the right to freedom of expressionand freedom of press in Egypt and in the Arab world.

[2] Article 29 ofthe law allows for sentencing of up to 10 years in prison for creating a socialmedia account that promotes “terrorist” activities or harms national interests.

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