May 19, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the conviction of lawyer Mohamed Ramadan in Egypt.
Mohamed Ramadan is a human rights lawyer whose work includes the representation of human rights defenders, political prisoners and victims of police brutality. He is a former member of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (“ANHRI”). The ANHRI is a non-governmental organization devoted to promoting freedom of expression across the Middle East and North Africa. Based in Cairo, Egypt, the organization focuses on supporting free expression and assisting persons detained for expressing their personal views. It also advocates against censorship by Arab governments.
It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on April 12, 2017, Mohamed Ramadan was summarily found guilty of “insulting the president, misusing social media, and inciting violence”. Consequently, he was sentenced to ten years in prison, following which he is to be placed under house arrest and banned from using the internet for a five-year period. The conviction was rendered on the allegation that by creating Facebook pages which featured publications and sentiments with the potential to disrupt public order, Mohamed Ramadan incited terrorism, harmed national unity and social peace, and weakened the public’s trust in the ruling regime.
According to Mohamed Ramadan and his lawyers, the case against him has been fabricated by Egyptian authorities as a direct response to his work on behalf of victims of torture by the Egyptian police. Such an inference could be drawn from the fact that the evidence used against him in court consisted of posts published on fake Facebook profiles that had been created by a third party for the purposes of impersonating Mohamed Ramadan without his knowledge or consent. Moreover, all but one of the witnesses who testified against him were representatives of the Egyptian police force.