Posts Tagged ‘protests law’

Egypt: Extended detention of human rights defenders protesting the “Protests Law”

June 24, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that 0n 23 June 2014, the Public Prosecutor in Egypt ordered that the detention of human rights defenders Ms Yara Sallam and Ms Sanaa Seif be extended by four days. The day before, the human rights defenders were accused of breaching the ‘Protests Law’ by demonstrating without a permit, committing acts of violence, possession of inflammable material and Molotov cocktails, blocking a road, sabotaging public and private property, and belonging to the banned group ‘April 6’. The human rights defenders were among 24 persons arrested on 21 June 2014 during a demonstration against the ‘Protests Law’.

Yara Sallam is a human rights researcher who currently works with the NGO Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). She is also the winner of the African Shield Human Rights Defenders   in 2013. Sanaa Seif is a student who has participated in previous protests in the defence of human rights. The human rights defender was arbitrarily detained during Magles El Wuzara events on 16 December 2011, and was released on the same day. Sanaa Seif is also the sister of human rights defender Mr Alaa Abd El Fattah, who was sentenced in absentia on 11 June 2014 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/26164 and of Mona Seif, MEA Nominee of 2013 (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/egyptian-hrd-and-mea-nominee-mona-seif-under-attack/)

Twenty-three of the individuals arrested at the protest have had their detention extended by four days and one was released on bail. A decision on whether to charge the human rights defenders is expected shortly. The human rights defenders’ lawyer, Mr Mohamed Khedr, has highlighted inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses for the prosecution, as well as within the police’s own statements. In particular, the police secretary accused the protesters of damaging a police vehicle at 9:30pm on 21 June 2014, despite the demonstrators having been arrested at 5:30pm that day outside a kiosk when they were not present at the protest, and a police report having been filed against them at 9:30pm. The police found no inflammable objects within the possession of the demonstrators.

The human rights defenders are two of several Egyptian human rights defenders, such as Maheinour Al Masry <http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/25996> , who have been targeted through the ‘Protests Law’ (Law no 107 of 2013 on the Right to Public Meetings, Processions and Peaceful Demonstrations). The law was approved on 24 November 2013 by interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour and has been condemned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai.