April 21, 2017
Dear President Sisi and Ministers,
Re: Unlawful Arrest, Conviction and Detention of Lawyer Mohamed Ramadan
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and others who promote human rights and the rule of law through advocacy, education and research. LRWC is a non-governmental organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
LRWC requests the Government of Egypt to immediately and unconditionally release Mohamed Ramadan and ensure that the conviction against him is vacated. Mohamed Ramadan Mohamed Ramadan was charged under the Egyptian Counter-terrorism Law and summarily found guilty of “insulting the president, misusing social media, and inciting violence.” He was sentenced in absentia on 12 April 2017 to ten years in prison, followed by five years under house arrest and a five year ban on using the internet.
The case against him was apparently fabricated by the Egyptian authorities as a response to his work representing the victims of torture by the Egyptian police. The evidence used against him in court was based on his own Facebook posts, plus posts made on fake Facebook profiles which were created by a third party to impersonate Mohamed Ramadan without his knowledge or consent. All but one of the witnesses who testified against him was a representative of the Egyptian police force.
This conviction was based on Articles 1, 2, 6, 9, 18, 29(1), and 37 of the Egyptian Counter-terrorism Law – Law 94 of 2015. The law vaguely describes “terrorist act” as the “use of … threat or intimidation… for the purpose of disturbing public order … harm[ing] national unity, social peace, or national security.” This vague and overly broad definition allows the law to be used to arbitrarily criminalize internationally-protected activities such as freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.