May 31, 2018
Egyptian police and National Security forces have carried out a wave of arrests of critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in dawn raids since early May 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges against them appear to be solely based on their social media posts and peaceful activism. Security briefly held several of the detainees incommunicado.
Those arrested include Hazem Abd al-Azim, a political activist, on May 27, and well-known journalist and rights defender Wael Abbas on May 23. Security forces blindfolded him and kept him for almost 36 hours in an unknown location before taking him before prosecutors. Others include Shady al-Ghazaly Harb and Haitham Mohamadeen, both lawyers; Amal Fathy, an activist; and Shady Abu Zaid, a satirist.
“The state of oppression in Egypt has sunk so low that al-Sisi’s forces are arresting well-recognized activists as they sleep, simply for speaking up,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The message is clear that criticism and even mild satire apparently earn Egyptians an immediate trip to prison.”
A state security prosecutor ordered lawyer Mohamadeen, a workers’ rights defender, detained for 15 days on charges of “joining a terrorist organization” and “inciting protests,” in the same case for which authorities interrogated al-Ghazaly Harb. National security forces initially detainedMohamadeen on May 18 and held him incommunicado for two days.