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Egypt
13.11.18
Urgent Interventions

WHRD Amal Fathy’s preventive detention extended for another 45 days

New information

EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059.8

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

Egypt

November 13, 2018

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 been informed by reliable sources about the ongoingarbitrary detention of Ms. AmalFathy, a women’s rights defender known for being vocal against human rightsviolations, in particular the arbitrary detention of activists in Egypt. Ms.Amal Fathy is married to Mr. Mohamed Lotfy, Executive Directorof the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF)[1].

According to the information received, on November 12, 2018, a North Cairo criminalcourt ordered the extension of Ms. Amal Fathy’s preventive detention for45 days in Case No. 621 of 2018 under which she is facing charges of “joining a terroristgroup”, “publishing false news to disrupt public security and harm nationalinterests” and “using the internet to call for acts of terrorism” (seebackground information).

The Observatory recalls that Ms. Amal Fathy is arbitrarily detained sinceMay 11, 2018, and that her health condition is deteriorating as she suffersfrom acute stress reaction caused by her arbitrary detention. On September 29, 2018, she was sentenced to two yearsin prison in the framework of another case (Case No. 7991 of 2018) for “publication of false news undermining nationalsecurity”, “possession of indecent material”, and “publicly insulting”, inrelation to a video posted on Facebook on May 9, 2018 in which Ms. Fathycriticised the Egyptian Governmentfor failing to protect women against sexual harassment as well as over ageneral deterioration in living conditions in the country (see background information).

The Observatory is extremely concerned by the ongoing arbitrarydetention of Ms. Fathy and by her deteriorating health conditions in thatcontext. Therefore, the Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities toimmediately and unconditionally release Ms. Fathy and, in the meanwhile, toensure that she has immediate and unhindered access to adequate health care.

Background information:

On May 9, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy posted a 12-minute videoon Facebook criticising the Egyptian Government for itsfailure to protect women against sexual harassment, as well as over a generaldeterioration of living conditions in the country.

The next day, pro-government and State-owned media outlets releasedarticles citing the video, identifying Ms. Amal Fathy as an “April 6 Youthmovement” activist, the wife of Mr. Mohamed Lotfy and accusing her of insultingEgypt and Egyptian institutions. This was followed by a wave of harassment andthreats on social media against Ms. Amal Fathy.

On May 11, 2018, at around 2.30 am, Egyptian security forces raided thehouse of Ms. Amal Fathy and Mr. Mohamed Lotfy in Cairo and started searchingit. Their mobile phones were seized and they were denied the right tocommunicate with a lawyer or their relatives. The two activists were brought toMaadi police station, in southern Cairo, along with their three-year-old son.

Around three hours later, Mr. Lotfy and his son were released. The MaadiProsecutor subsequently placed Ms. Amal Fathy under preventive detention for 15days within the framework of Criminalcase No. 7991 of 2018.

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

On May 13, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy was questioned by the High State Security Prosecution about the “April 6 Youth Movement”, ECRF and theactivities of her husband. She was then placed under preventive detention foran additional 15 days in theframework of another case, Criminal case No. 621 of 2018.

On May 24, the Maadi Prosecutor extended Ms. AmalFathy’s preventive detention for 15 additional days within the framework ofCase 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 Maadi Prosecutor extended for the third time Ms.Amal Fathy’s preventive detention for a further 2-week period, without providing any reason.

On June 21, 2018, the Criminal Court of South Cairo approved the releaseon bail of Ms. Amal Fathy within the framework of Case No. 7991 of 2018 uponpayment of a 10’000 EGP guarantee (approximately 480 EUR). She remainednonetheless in detention pending investigation within the framework of Case No.621 of 2018.

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

On July 30, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy received again a further 15-daydetention by State security prosecution.

On September 26, 2018, the pre-trial detention of Ms. Amal Fathy wasrenewed again for 15 days under Case No. 621 of 2018.

On September 29, 2018, the Maadi Misdemeanours Court in Cairo sentenced Ms. AmalFathy to two years in prison, a fine of 10’000 Egyptian pounds (around 474 EUR)and a bail of 20’000 Egyptian pounds (around 950 EUR) to suspend the sentence.She is accused of “publication of false news undermining national security”,“possession of indecent material”, and “publicly insulting”. On September 30, 2018, she appealed the case andpaid the bail. The first appeal hearing is scheduled on November 25, 2018before the Maadi Appeals Court.

On October 14 and again on October 28, 2018, the State security prosecutionextended twice Ms. Fathy’s detention for 15 days.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egyptasking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances thephysical 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 medical care;

ii. Immediately and unconditionallyrelease Ms. AmalFathy as her detention is arbitrary as it is merely aimed at punishing herfor her human rights activities as well as those of her husband;

iii. Put an end to all 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;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UNDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of theUnited Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensure in allcircumstances 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 of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax:+202 2391 1441. 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

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

· Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, 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 the National Council for Human Rights,Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg

· H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to theUnited 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, November 13, 2018

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.

[1] The Observatory recalls that this is not the firsttime that 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’scase (See ObservatoryUrgent Appeal EGY 004 / 0917 / OBS 105, published on September 27, 2017).

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