April 7, 2017
URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
EGY 002 / 0516 / OBS 042.3
Disciplinary harassment /
Threat of dismissal /
Restrictions to freedom of association
April 7, 2017
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the disciplinary harassment of Judges Assem Abel Gabbar, former Deputy Chief Justice of the Court of Cassation, and Hesham Raouf, who sits at Cairo’s Appeal Court and former Justice Minister’s assistant, to the Disciplinary Council to consider their dismissal for “engaging in political activities” during their participation in the revision of the anti-torture bill.
According to the information received, on March 30, 2017, the Supreme Judicial Council referred the two judges to the Disciplinary Council for their removal from office on accusation of “engaging in political activities”. Messrs. Assem Abel Gabbar and Hesham Raouf had collaborated with Mr Negad El-Borai, human rights lawyer and Director of the “United Group – Attorneys-at-law, Legal Advisors” (United Group), in the drafting of an anti-torture bill. The first hearing is scheduled to take place on April 24, 2017.
The Observatory recalls that Mr. El-Borai is facing criminal charges of “establishing an unlicensed entity with the intent of inciting resistance wards to the authorities”, “implementing human rights activities without license”, “deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest” and “receiving funds from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC)” (see background information) in an investigation regarding the same anti-torture activity.
The Observatory considers that the aforementioned investigation and disciplinary harassment will further undermine human rights defenders’ efforts to fight against torture in the country.