Alert: New report reveals patterns of torture along African migration routes
Egypt
11.01.19
Urgent Interventions

Sentencing and ongoing judicial harassment against Ms. Amal Fathy

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information

EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059.9

Sentencing /

Judicial harassment

Egypt

11 January, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has beeninformed by reliable sources about the sentencing and ongoing judicialharassment against Ms. Amal Fathy, a women’srights defender known for being vocal against human rights violations, inparticular the arbitrary detention of activists in Egypt. Ms. Amal Fathy ismarried to Mr. Mohamed Lotfy, Executive Directorof the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF)[1].

On December 30, 2018, theCairo Court of Appeal rejected Ms. Amal Fathy’s appeal and confirmed a two-yearjail sentence and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (around 474 EUR) on chargesof “publication of false news undermining national security”, “possession ofindecent material”, and “publicly insulting the State” under Case No. 7991 of2018 for posting a video on Facebook denouncing human rights violations.

This sentence follows herrecent conditional release, on December 27, 2018, under Case No. 621 of 2018,in which she is facing charges of “joining a terrorist group”, “publishingfalse news to disrupt public security and harm national interests” and “usingthe internet to call for acts of terrorism” (see background information). Thisrelease was only enforced nine days after publication of the court order, onDecember 18, 2018.

On January 2, 2019, herhusband appealed to the President of Egypt to grant pardon in favour of Ms.Amal Fathy in Case No. 7991 of 2018.

The Observatory recallsthat Ms. Amal Fathy’s health condition is deteriorating as she suffers fromacute stress reaction caused by her arbitrary detention and by the harassmentshe has been subjected to prior to her arrest.

The Observatory is extremely concerned by thesentencing and ongoing judicial harassment of Ms. Fathy, which only aims atpunishing her for her legitimate work in defence of human rights and whichrepresents a serious infringement of her right to freedom of expression.Therefore, the Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately andunconditionally put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judiciallevel, and drop all charges against her.

Background information:

On May 9, 2018,Ms. Amal Fathy posted a 12-minute video on Facebook criticisingthe Egyptian Government for its failure to protect women against sexualharassment, as well as over a general deterioration of living conditionsin the country.

The next day,pro-government and State-owned media outlets released articles citing thevideo, identifying Ms. Amal Fathy as an “April 6 Youth movement” activist andaccusing her of insulting Egypt and Egyptian institutions. This was followed bya wave of harassment and threats on social media against Ms. Amal Fathy.

On May 11, 2018, at around2.30 am, Egyptian security forces raided the house of Ms. Amal Fathy and Mr.Mohamed Lotfy in Cairo and started searching it. Their mobile phones wereseized and they were denied the right to communicate with a lawyer or their relatives.The two activists were brought to Maadi police station, in southern Cairo,along with their three-year-old son.

Around three hours later,Mr. Lotfy and his son were released. The Maadi Prosecutor subsequently placedMs. Amal Fathy under preventive detention for 15 days within the frameworkof Criminal case No. 7991 of 2018.

On May 12, 2018,Ms. Amal Fathy was transferred to Qanater women’s prison.

On May 13, 2018, Ms. AmalFathy was questioned by the High State Security Prosecution about the “April 6 YouthMovement”, ECRF and the activities of her husband. She was then placed underpreventive detention for an additional 15 days in the framework of anothercase, Criminal case No. 621 of 2018 in relation to her suspected participationin the April 6 Youth Movement and her husband’s human rights activities.

On May 24, the MaadiProsecutor extended Ms. Amal Fathy’s preventive detention for 15 additionaldays within the framework of Case No. 7991 of 2018, without providing reason.Ms. Fathy appealed the decision. On May 30, 2018, Ms. Fathy’s appeal wasrejected.

On June 7, 2018, the MaadiProsecutor extended for the third time Ms. Amal Fathy’s preventive detentionfor a further 2-week period, without providing any reason.

On June 21, 2018, the CriminalCourt of South Cairo approved the release on bail of Ms. Amal Fathy within theframework of Case No. 7991 of 2018 upon payment of a 10,000 EGP guarantee(approximately 480 EUR). She remained nonetheless in detention pendinginvestigation within the framework of Case No. 621 of 2018.

On July 2, 2018 and July30, 2018, the National Security Prosecution Office extended Ms. Amal Fathypre-trial detention for the fifth and sixth time for a further 15-day period.

On September 29, 2018,the Maadi MisdemeanoursCourt in Cairo sentenced Ms. Amal Fathy to two years in prison, a fine of10,000 Egyptian pounds (around 474 EUR) and a bail of 20,000 Egyptian pounds(around 950 EUR) to suspend the sentence, under Case No. 7991 of 2018. On September 30, 2018, sheappealed the case and paid the bail.

On October 14, 2018,October 28, 2018, and November 12, 2018, the State security prosecution and theCriminal Court extended for three consecutive times Ms. Fathy’s detention.

On December 18, 2018, the Criminal Court approved Ms.Amal Fathy’s release on bail pending trial under Case No. 621 of 2018.

Actions requested:

Please write to theauthorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Put an end toall acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Amal Fathy as well as againstMr. Mohamed Lotfy and all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensurethat they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

ii. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Amal Fathy, Mr.Mohamed Lotfy, their relatives and all human rights defenders in Egypt,including by ensuring immediate and unhindered access to adequate medical care;

iii. Conform with theprovisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by theGeneral Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles1, 6(c) and 12.2; and

iv. More generally, ensurein all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and withinternational and regional human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.

Addresses:

· President of the Arab Republic ofEgypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

· Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa KemalMadbouly Mohamed. Email:pm@cabinet.gov.eg ​​

· Minister of the Interior, Mr. MahmoudTawfik, Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg

· Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed HossamAbdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103

· Public Prosecutor, Counsellor NabeelSadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716

· Head of the Egyptian parliament's Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed,Email: humanrightscomplaints@parliament.gov.eg

· Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of theNational Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. 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,Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions orembassies of Egypt in your respective country.

***

Geneva-Paris, January 11, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against humanrights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 4355 18 80

[1] The Observatory recalls that this is not the first timethat ECRF and its members are subjected to harassment, due to theirdocumentation of cases of torture in prisons, enforced disappearances as wellas their legal support in Giulio Regeni’s case (See Observatory Urgent Appeal EGY 004 / 0917 / OBS 105, published on September 27, 2017)

Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts