Tag Archives: Egypt

Egypt: Fair trial violations and threat of long term detention for Mohammad El-Baqer (joint communication)

16/05/22

The following is based on a communication written by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and other UN experts to the Government of Egypt on 17 March 2022. The communication remained confidential for 60 days before being made public. The Government did not respond within this period. Replies, if received, will be published on the UN Special Procedures’ database

This is a shorter version of the original communication.

[…]

Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer is a lawyer and human rights defender who has actively used social and other media outlets to publish and write about human rights issues, including on cases of enforced disappearances and torture allegedly involving the National Security Agency. Following his arrest in September 2019, he was detained arbitrarily for an extended period. He was also placed on Egypt’s domestic terrorist entities and terrorist list (hereinafter “terrorism watch list”) under Case No. 1781/2019.

We previously raised our human rights concerns with the Egyptian Government about the arrest and detention of Mr. El-Baqer and the inclusion of his name on Egypt’s terrorism watch list in communications EGY 11/2019EGY 10/2020 and EGY 8/2021.. We regret that no reply has been received to any of these communications.

The case of Mr. El-Baqer was also included in the 2020 report of the Secretary-general (A/HRC/45/36, Annex I paras. 45-46) on cooperation with the UN on allegations that he had been targeted in relation to his engagement with the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt.

ALLEGATIONS

On 16 October 2021, Mr. El-Baqer was referred to the Emergency State Security Court (ESSC) by the Supreme State Security Prosecution under a new case without the knowledge of his lawyers who were prevented from presenting their defence, and who were not allowed to access his case file.

Mr. El-Baqer was accused under case No. 1228/2021 of “spreading false news undermining national security” and “using social media to commit publishing offenses.” These charges were among four accusations brought against him under an earlier case in 2019, case No. 1356/2019, which included accusations of “belonging to a terrorist group”, and “funding a terrorist group”, both of which remain in place and for which Mr. El-Baqer is held in pre-trial detention.

Although the state of emergency in Egypt was lifted on 26 October 2021, the ESSC remains in place for cases referred to it beforehand. Emergency Court verdicts are not subject to appeal and can only be commuted or overturned by the President of the republic.

On 11 November 2021, the ESSC rescheduled Mr. El-Baqer’s trial to 20 December 2021. His lawyers were not allowed to meet him or to have access to his case file, in violation of due process.

On 23 November 2021, the Court of Cassa tion rejected Mr. El-Baqer’s appeal to remove his name from the terrorism watch list issued a year earlier under Case No. 1781/2019, despite a lack of evidence or verdict justifying its decision.

On 20 December 2021, the ESSC Misdemeanor Court in New Cairo sentenced Mr. El-Baqer to four years in prison in case 1228/2021. In addition to his four-year sentence, Mr. El-Baqer continues to be held in pre- trial detention under Case No. 1356/2019 and, if tried and convicted by a Supreme State Security Court, he could face long-term imprisonment.

CONCERNS

Without prejudging the accuracy of the information received, we express serious concern regarding the allegations that Mr. El-Baqer was denied the right to due process and fair trial throughout his arbitrary detention and trial, his continued arbitrary detention, and the continued inclusion of his name on the terrorism watch list without apparent evidence, in what appears to be a misuse of this listing procedure against human rights defenders. We express further concerns regarding the reported lack of adequate sanitary conditions and adequate medical care to Mr. El-Baqer, as well as the alleged lack of regular access to and contact with his family and legal representatives.

[…]

https://www.cfjustice.org/free-them-all-a-fair-and-transparent-process-to-release-political-prisoners-in-egypt/

https://www.uianet.org/fr/actions/global-legal-community-stands-solidarity-egyptian-lawyer-mohamed-el-baqer

https://www.amnesty.fr/personnes/mohamed-el-baqer (FRANCAIS)

Egypt: Lawyer Nabil Abu Shikha arrested after posting jokes about TV series

15/04/22

https://www.cairo24.com/1556307 (ARABIC)

Egypt: Letter on the arrest and detention of Youssef Mansour

12/04/22

In a letter Lawyers for Lawyers expresses serious concern over the arbitrary arrest, subsequent disappearance and ongoing detention of Egyptian human rights lawyer Youssef Mansour.

According to the information we received, on 24 March 2022, Mr Mansour was arrested at his domicile by a group of officers from the National Security Forces, who reportedly failed to present an arrest warrant. The mobile phone and laptop of Mr Mansour were seized by the officers. We understand that, prior to his arrest, Mr Mansour wrote a post on social media denouncing the detention conditions in the Tora Maximum Security Prison.

Mr Mansour was disappeared in an undisclosed location for two days and was not presented before any investigative body until 26 March 2022, where he appeared before the Supreme State Security Persecution (SSSP) in Cairo. The SSSP ordered the pre-trial detention of Mr Mansour for a period of fifteen days in Albssaten Police station. Mr Mansour is detained in relation to case no. 330/2022 and accused of ‘joining an illegal group’, ‘inciting the commission of terrorist crimes’ and ‘publishing false news inside and outside Egypt’.

We call upon the Egyptian authorities to release Youssef Mansour and drop all charges against him unless credible evidence is presented in proceedings that respect fair trial guarantees, and put an end to all acts of harassment against Youssef Mansour, including at the judicial level.

[…]

https://practicesource.com/egypt-arbitrary-arrest-and-detention-of-rights-lawyer-youssef-mansour/

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/three-egyptian-activists-end-hunger-strike-tora-prison

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sexual-violence-detainees-human-rights-report

Egypt: Six lawyers given suspended sentended 1-year sentences, 3 acquitted over 2015 in-court dispute

27/03/22

A North Giza court acquitted three lawyers on Sunday and handed six others one-year suspended sentences over allegations dating back to a 2015 dispute, lawyer Mohsen Bahnasy told Mada Masr.

The nine lawyers were referred to court in early February, facing allegations that they disrupted the work of a court chamber for the Imbaba and Ausim district in 2015. 

The court’s decision to convict six of the lawyers on Sunday unnecessarily prolongs the dispute, Mohsen Bahnasy told Mada Masr.

The acquitted lawyers were former chair of the Giza branch of the Lawyers Syndicate and current syndicate council member Mahmoud al-Dakhly, North Giza syndicate council member Ramadan Kishk and lawyer Iman Hassan, said Bahnasy.

Dozens of lawyers attended a Saturday court session in a show of solidarity with the nine lawyers. Yet proceedings were postponed until Sunday when syndicate chair Ragaei Attiya, attending the Saturday session as head of the lawyers’ defense team, collapsed in court and was later pronounced dead.

A new defense was chosen by presiding judge Mohamed Bahaa Abu Shaqa — a Supreme Legislative Reform Committee member and election campaign adviser for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — before the judge reserved the case for the verdict today.

The North Giza prosecution alleged that, during an April 30, 2015 court session, the defendants lined up in the courtroom and in front of the deliberation room and chanted insults against the judiciary with the goal of preventing the court from convening. The lawyers are also accused of stealing the court’s ledger for the day.

The prosecution charged the nine lawyers with using force against judges of the court’s appellate misdemeanor chamber for the Imbaba and Ausim district, its secretary, bailiff and police personnel on duty. 

[…]

https://www.madamasr.com/en/2022/03/27/news/u/six-lawyers-given-suspended-1-year-sentences-3-acquitted-over-2015-in-court-dispute/

https://www.madamasr.com/en/2022/02/06/news/u/dozens-of-lawyers-protest-decision-to-refer-9-colleagues-to-trial-over-2015-dispute/

Egypt: Arbitrary arrest and detention of rights lawyer Youssef Mansour

27/03/22

Egyptian Front monitored the arrest of HRD Youssef Mansour on 24 March 2022, and enforced disappeared for two days, then appeared before the SSSP on 26 March 2022, in Case No.330/2022 on accusations of Joining an illegal group, and spreading false news inside and outside Egypt. Then he was ordered to be held in pre-trial detention for 15 days, pending investigations.

Youssef was arrested by a security force (approx. 30 persons), who occupied his building in Dar El-Salam (South Cairo), then arrested him and took his mobile and laptop. Then, They took him to an unknown place for two days, before appearing before the SSSP- Supreme state security prosecution on the above accusations. He was asked on posts he wrote on his social media platforms about the detention conditions in the scorpion prison 2 in the Tora prisons area. 


It is worth noting, Youssef Mansour (26 years old) is a Lawyer and the former Lawyer at ANHRI, which was forced to close in Jan 2022.

Egypt: Dozens of lawyers protest decision to refer 9 colleagues to trial over 2015 dispute

06/02/22

Dozens of lawyers stood in silent protest outside a North Giza courthouse on Sunday to oppose the referral of nine lawyers to criminal trial over a 2015 dispute, while the North Giza branch of the Lawyers Syndicate called for a partial strike starting Tuesday.

Having recently revived investigations into the 2015 incident, the North Giza Public Prosecution referred the nine lawyers on February 1 to criminal trial on charges of gathering and disrupting the work of a court, several members of the Lawyers Syndicate branch told Mada Masr.

One of the defendants, Ramadan Kishk, who is a member of the North Giza syndicate council, told Mada Masr that more than 100 lawyers, most of them young, stood in silence outside the court on Sunday in protest of the referral decision. The branch opted for a silent vigil as it waited for approval from authorities for a more vocal demonstration, Kishk said.

Kishk was among several of the defendants who visited the public prosecutor’s office on Saturday to demand that the prosecution reverse its decision. However, they were told the case was out of the prosecution’s hands now that it had been referred to trial. In response, the syndicate branch called for a partial strike across all North Giza courts beginning on Tuesday, during which lawyers would refrain from paying court fees as an initial step.

In the referral decision, the Public Prosecution charged the nine lawyers with using force against the judges of the court’s appellate misdemeanor chamber for the Imbaba and Ausim district, its secretary, bailiff and police personnel on duty. The prosecution alleges that, during an April 30, 2015 court session, the defendants lined up in the courtroom and in front of the deliberation room and chanted insults against the judiciary with the goal of preventing the court from convening. The lawyers are also accused of stealing the court’s ledger for the day.

[…]

https://www.madamasr.com/en/2022/02/06/news/u/dozens-of-lawyers-protest-decision-to-refer-9-colleagues-to-trial-over-2015-dispute/

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-human-rights-lawyer-bayoumi-forcibly-disappeared

Egypt: Human rights lawyer forcibly disappeared

01/02/22

egypt-lawyer-mee-2022

Osama Bayoumi is working on a number of sensitive cases and his clients’ files are now in the hands of authorities after his laptop and phone were seized, a rights group says

Egyptian human rights lawyer Osama Bayoumi has been “forcibly disappeared” since his detention four days ago in Cairo, a rights group told Middle East Eye on Tuesday.

Bayoumi has been “arbitrarily detained” and has not been presented to any investigative authorities since his arrest in a dawn raid on his home on Saturday, Ahmed Attar, executive director of the London-based Egyptian Network for Human Rights (ENHR), said. 

Bayoumi, a prominent rights lawyer and member of the Lawyers Syndicate, is handling a number of high-profile cases, many of them involving political prisoners. 

According to Attar, Egyptian security forces stormed Bayoumi’s home at 1am in the capital, without presenting an arrest warrant. They confiscated his work laptop, mobile phone and some cash. 

“His work computer has confidential information about his cases and his clients,” Attar said.

“Mr Bayoumi has a known address and office in Cairo. Authorities who need to obtain any information from him could have easily reached him without the need for unlawful detention,” Attar added.

According to Egyptian law, detainees must appear before an investigative body within a maximum of 24 hours after arrest. 

Egyptian and international rights groups have documented hundreds of cases of enforced disappearance since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi led his military coup against his democratically-elected predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

[…]

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-human-rights-lawyer-bayoumi-forcibly-disappeared

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Egypt: Call to release 50 rights lawyers in long-term pre-trial detention

31/01/22

https://mada32.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/ar/2022/01/30/news/u/%D9%85%D8%AE%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%B4-%D9%88%D9%88%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A1/ (ARABIC)

Mixed news from Egypt on Human Rights Defenders

19/01/22

OHCHR | Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

In the past month and into the New Year, I have heard encouraging reports about Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in many parts of the world, including Egypt.

But while courts in Egypt have ordered the release of a number of HRDs, and lifted travel bans of others, many more continue to be held in detention without charge for long periods of time, or have been sentenced in unfair trials or have been added to the terrorist list.

I welcome the release from detention on 8 January 2022 of Ramy Shaath, the Egyptian-Palestinian human rights defender detained in July 2019 and accused of terrorism. Unfortunately, he had to relinquish his Egyptian citizenship and passport before leaving the country. That same day, Ramy Kamel Salib, who focused on defending the right to freedom of religion, and who was detained in February 2020 was issued with a release order. The two men had been charged with disseminating false news and joining a terrorist organisation and were the subject of multiple communications I sent to the Egyptian government, only some of which received a response.

[…]

I continue to raise with the Egyptian authorities the mis-use of anti-terrorist and national security laws to criminalise the work of HRDs. In multiple cases, their detention without trial has been repeatedly renewed for longer than the two year legal limit, often based vague provisions of the Penal Code, the Anti-Terror Law and Anti-Cybercrime law. Of additional concern is the practice whereby HRDs whose release has been ordered by courts are placed under investigation in new cases before they get a chance to leave detention.

Among those who have been victims of this practice are HRDs Ezzat Ghoneim, Hoda Abdel Moneim, Aisha el-Shater, Mohamed Abou Horira.

Some HRDs remain unable to travel due to travel bans, including human rights lawyers Negad el-Borei and Azza Soliman.

Others, like Gamal Eid, have been unable to work. He has suspended the activities ofthe Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), due to ongoing harassment and attacks.

I remain ready to discuss these and any other issues relating to Human Rights Defenders with the Egyptian authorities.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/12/egypt-prominent-rights-group-forced-close

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2022/01/17/2003771543

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamal_Eid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azza_Soliman

(ITALIANO)

Egypt: Lawyer Amr Imam was imprisoned for two years for his solidarity with his comrades in Egypt

16/10/21

Lawyer Amr Imam was imprisoned for two years for his solidarity with his comrades in Egypt

The last thing Amr Imam wrote on Facebook, “I am being arrested from home” (Facebook)

Two full years have passed since the Egyptian human rights lawyer Amr Imam has been in prison in a solitary cell, since his arrest, on October 16, 2019, from his home at dawn, and his inclusion in case No. 488 of 2019 State Security Inspection, in which he was transferred from a lawyer who Turn in the defense of prisoners of conscience to the accused.

The last thing an imam wrote on his personal account on the social networking site “Facebook” before it was closed completely was, “I am being arrested from the house.”

The Egyptian security forces arrested Amr Imam from his home on October 16, 2019, after he announced on his personal Facebook page that he condemned the arrest and assault of journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah and his solidarity with her. He was arrested on the same day and transferred from a lawyer to a prisoner of conscience. .

Immediately before that, Imam had announced his entry into a partial hunger strike to protest the arrest and torture of his friends, especially the political activist and journalist Esraa Abdel-Fattah, the prominent political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, and the human rights lawyer Muhammad Al-Baqer. He said that if the demands were not met, he would escalate his protest by starting with a full hunger strike, then an open sit-in inside a judicial building with his complete hunger strike, then by escalating and announcing that he had stopped taking any liquids other than water, and then by escalating a comprehensive strike and stopping drinking water.

Imam summarized his targeted demands from this solidarity strike in “opening an investigation and hearing the statements of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, as a victim of his torture, transferring Muhammad Al-Baqer and Alaa Abdel-Fattah from a high-security prison 2, and opening an investigation into the torture of Israa Abdel-Fattah and hearing her statements as a victim.” And he opened visits to a high-security prison 2 and empowered all prison inmates “convicted and remanded” of their full rights, as stipulated by the Prison Authority regulation.” He found himself convicted of the same accusations as those who demanded their freedom, and he joins them in the same case.

[…]

https://middleeast.in-24.com/News/316596.html

https://euromedrights.org/human-rights-behind-bars-in-egypt/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/20/leading-activist-in-egypts-2011-uprising-and-two-others-jailed

https://www.madamasr.com/en/2021/12/20/news/u/alaa-abd-el-fattah-sentenced-to-5-years-lawyer-mohamed-baqer-and-blogger-mohamed-oxygen-4-years-each/

https://pen.org/press-release/egyptian-blogger/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-59730354

(FRANCAIS)

https://www.liberation.fr/international/egypte-cinq-ans-de-prison-en-plus-pour-le-militant-alaa-abdel-fattah-20211220_BMZIN4YW5VCJXMAATFEUWXCB5M/

https://afrique.tv5monde.com/information/cinq-ans-de-prison-pour-alaa-abdel-fattah-figure-de-la-revolte-en-egypte

(ESPANOL)

https://www.rfi.fr/es/condenan-a-cinco-a%C3%B1os-de-prisi%C3%B3n-a-una-figura-de-la-revoluci%C3%B3n-egipcia-de-2011

(ITALIANO)
(DEUTSCH)

https://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/internacional/2021/12/20/interna_internacional,1332625/ativista-da-revolucao-egipcia-de-2011-e-condenado-a-5-anos-de-prisao.shtml (PORTUGUES)

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/jaren-celstraf-voor-drie-prominente-egyptische-activisten~b0f74c7df/ (NEDERLANDS)