December 22, 2017
URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
EGY 006 / 1217 / OBS 120
Arbitrary detention /
December 22, 2017
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahienour El Massry, human rights lawyer known for her activism in favour of judicial independence and prisoners’ rights by organising peaceful protests, support activities for political prisoners and using social media to denounce human rights violations.
According to the information received, on November 18, 2017, the Misdemeanor Montaza Court in Alexandria ordered the detention of Ms. Mahienour El-Massry pending trial, in relation to the protests against the Tiran and Sanafeer land agreement in June 2017, which has resulted in the arrest of 60 activists throughout the country. She is accused of “participating in an unauthorized protest”, “insulting the President” and thuggery. The next hearing is scheduled on December 30, 2017.
On December 16, 2017, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry’s family went to visit her in Qanater El Khayereya Women’s Prison in Cairo. There, they were told that she had been deported to Damanhour prison, which is closer to Alexandria.
Thus, on December 17, 2017, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry’s family went to Damanhour prison to visit her. They reported that Ms. Mahienour El-Massry had been in a put in a “waiting room” since her transfer. The waiting room was reportedly overcrowded and Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was prevented from eating, drinking or using the toilet. In addition, as the decision to transfer her to Damanhour prison was very sudden, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was unable to pack all her needs when she left Qanater prison.
The Observatory recalls that Egyptian authorities have a long history of harassing and detaining Ms. Mahienour El-Massry. Already, in January 2014, she was sentenced to 2 years in jail for exercising her right to peacefully protest against police violence. Her sentence was reduced in appeal to six months.
Urgent latest update on Mahienour’s situation in prison as of 21 December
عن وضع ماهينور في سجن دمنهور بحسب زيارة عائلتها بالأمس 21 ديسمبر
Mahienour’s family has visited her again after she was moved to Damanhour prison. Her sister updated us on the situation, which is still alarming. Visitors have to walk for long distances inside the prison, carrying all the subsistence, which is usually huge because prisoners’ rely largely on this subsistence. Then, visitors and subsistence are searched, such that all food packages, and even fruits are opened/peeled and literally thrown on top of each other in one large pack.
As for Mahienour herself, she is in a very over crowded cell with 31 women, each of them gets a space of around 50 cm width to sleep in. They ended up dividing sleeping hours among them, so Mahienour manages to sleep for only two hours a day. Letters are allowed through the family after they are read by the officers.
Follow the solidarity campaign for 4 Egyptian activists facing trial by the end of 2017, including renowned award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El Massry, via the hashtag #30DecemberTrials
( الحرية لماهينور -Free Mahienour Facebook)