December 10, 2017
“It’s very difficult trying to hide where I’m going from my kids, and trying to make my mom feel that everything will be fine – with them knowing I’m lying,” Egyptian human rights lawyer Mohamed Zaree, looking visibly tense, told a TV reporter on May 23, 2017, one day prior to his court hearing in Cairo. The authorities have alleged that Zaree represents a security threat and that he has tarnished his country’s reputation.
“These charges could put me in jail for 25 years,” Zaree explained. And added: “My kids will grow up without me. I’m concerned about all of this; there are so many things on my mind.”
The following day, Zaree was released on bail. But the charges against him have not been dropped. During his time as the Egypt office director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Mohamed Zaree co-authored a 2014 report on the country’s human rights situation. UN member states are expected to regularly produce such “Universal Periodic Reviews” and submit them to the United Nations Human Rights Council to help assess human rights situations in each country.
Protective human rights awards
This year, Mohamed Zaree won the Martin Ennals Award — a prize that is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”.