May 17, 2019
The arbitrary detention of labour rights lawyer, Haytham Mohamdeen, and former political activist, Mostafa Maher, this week has raised fears that the Egyptian authorities might be embarking on a fresh crackdown targeting peaceful dissent or individuals with history of activism, said Amnesty International.
“These latest arrests have reignited a climate of fear amongst independent activists and human rights organizations about a renewed assault by the Egyptian authorities on the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
“The Egyptian authorities have an appalling record of arbitrarily detaining peaceful activists over unfounded charges for months and sometimes for years, without ever referring them to trial, before releasing them under harsh probation measures. Instead of stepping up their repression with a fresh round of arbitrary detentions, the authorities should stop harassing peaceful critics and ensure all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association or assembly are immediately and unconditionally released.”
Amnesty International is calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mostafa Maher and Haytham Mohamdeen as their detention is arbitrary, and the charge against them is overly vague and has no credible basis. They appear to have been targeted solely because of their history of peaceful activism. The authorities also violated their fair trial rights during arrest, detention and questioning.
On 13 May, Haytham Mohamdeen was summoned to Saf police station, in Giza governate, south of Cairo, after being wrongfully accused of violating his probation terms. When he went to the police station, the police arrested him and held him without access to his lawyer or family until 16 May. Haytham Mohamdeen had been under probation since his release on 30 October 2018 from five months of arbitrary detention over trumped up charges of inciting peaceful protests against austerity measures.