Urgent Interventions

Messrs. Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed El-Baqer arbitrarily added to a "terrorist list"


New information

EGY 004 / 0919 / OBS 075.3

Arbitrarydetention /



November27, 2020

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of theWorld Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received newinformation and requests your urgent intervention in the following situationin Egypt.


TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the decision toarbitrarily add Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah, blogger and member of the “No toMilitary Trials for Civilians” movement[1],and Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer, human rights lawyer and Director of AdalahCenter for Rights and Freedoms, to the “terrorist list” in Egypt.

Accordingto the information received, on November 23, 2020, the Cairo Criminal Courtpublished in the Egyptian Official Gazette the decision it made on November 19,2020 to add Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer, along with 27 otheractivists, to Egypt’s “terrorist list” for a period of five years in connectionwith State Security Case 1781/2019. The ruling includes restrictions such as atravel ban and a freeze on assets for three years.

The Observatorydenounces the Court’s decision and condemns the Egyptian authorities’ use ofthe fight against terrorism to target human rights defenders. The Observatory further recalls that Egyptian authorities have increasingly employed repressive tactics such as prolonged pre-trial detention,enforced disappearance, torture, and judicial harassment to silence allcritical voices, including through unfounded investigations for nationalsecurity and counter-terrorism related charges.

TheObservatory condemns the ongoingarbitrary detention of Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah, which ispart of a clear human rights crackdown which Egypt has been suffering from inrecent years. The Observatory renews its calls on the Egyptianauthorities to release Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattahimmediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be only aimed at punishing them fortheir legitimate human rights activities,


OnSeptember 29, 2019, Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer was arrested at the State SecurityProsecution premises while he was attending an investigation session with hisclient Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah, who had been arrested earlier in the morning ofthat same day in his probation cell at the Dokki police station, where he wasspending his daily 12 hours under police monitoring[2].

Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah were subsequently accusedunder Criminal Case 1356 of 2019 by State Security Prosecution and ordered 15days of preventive detention under vague and unfounded charges that have beenbroadly used to criminalise all those that dare to defend human rights inEgypt: “belonging to a terrorist group”, “funding a terrorist group”,“spreading false news undermining national security” and “using social media tocommit publishing offenses”. Their place of detention remained unknown untilOctober 1, 2019, when the prison authorities informed their families that theywere detained in Tora High Security prison 2, which is known for its very poorconditions of detention.

Since their arrest, Messrs. MohamedEl-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah’s right to due process has been continuouslyviolated through countless and unjustified renewals of their preventivedetention by both the Supreme State Security Prosecution and Cairo CriminalCourt. Both of them have also been subjected to threats and acts ofill-treatment while in detention[3]. While in prison both havebeen denied access to books, time in the prison yard, access to a radio, warmclothes during the winter, a mattress, and fresh air within their cells.

OnAugust 31, 2020, Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer was informed of new charges broughtagainst him under a new criminal case, which include fabricated accusations of“joining an illegal organisation” and “being part of a criminal agreement withthe purpose of committing a terrorist act from inside the prison”.


Pleasewrite to the authorities in Egypt, urging them to:

i. Guaranteein all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being ofMessrs. Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed El-Baqer, as well as that of allhuman rights defenders in Egypt;

ii.Release Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah immediately andunconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim atpunishing them for their human rights activities, and immediately remove themfrom the terrorist list;

iii.Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, againstMessrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah, as well as of all human rightsdefenders in Egypt and ensure that they are able to carry out theiractivities without hindrance;

iv.Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of the Declaration on HumanRights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations GeneralAssembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;

v.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.


· President of the ArabRepublic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Email:, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

· Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed.

· Minister of theInterior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email:

· Head of the EgyptianParliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email:

· Mr. Mohamed Fayeq,President of the National Council for Human Rights, Email:

· H.E. Mr. AlaaYoussef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations inGeneva, Switzerland, Email:

· Embassy of Egypt inBrussels, Belgium, Email:

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respectivecountry.


Geneva-Paris,November 27, 2020

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent orremedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDHare both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanismimplemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail:

· Tel OMCT +41 22 809 49 29

· Tel FIDH +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] This movement was set up in 2011 and denounced human rights abusescommitted in particular by security forces and the army during the rule of theSupreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) after the fall of former PresidentMubarak.

[2] On March 29, 2019 Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah was released under probationfrom Cairo’s Tora prison, at the term of his five-year sentence. As part of hisprobation, he was required to spend every night at the Dokki police station.

[3] For more information, see theObservatory urgent appeal EGY 004 / 0919/ OBS 075.2 published on October 10, 2019.