Posts Tagged ‘Sanaa Seif’

Monday 25 April: what will happen in Egypt?

April 25, 2016

Brian Dooley, Director of Human Rights First’s Human Rights Defenders Program, wrote in the Huffington Post that today, Monday 25 April 2016, could be a watershed day for Egypt‘s military leader. This day is a national holiday Egypt which marks the 1982 withdrawal of Israeli troops from Sinai. President Sisi‘s agreement to hand over the two uninhabited islands of Tiran and Sanafir in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia may put a spark into the constantly simmering discontent in the human rights movement.

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Five Years After Tahrir Square, there is “stability” in Egypt but do not ask at what price

January 28, 2016

Five years ago, human rights defender Ahmed Abdullah was among thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets for 18 days of mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, eventually forcing then-President Hosni Mubarak to step down and the security forces to retreat. Today, Ahmed is on the run. He dodged arrest by the thinnest of margins on January 9, after plainclothes police in Cairo raided his regular coffee shop. The NGO which he chairs, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, had recently exposed a surge in enforced disappearances, which has seen hundreds vanish at the hands of state security forces over the last year alone. He is not the only one whose activism has put him at risk. In recent weeks, security forces have been rounding up activists linked to protests and journalists critical of the government’s record. This how Amnesty International starts its assessment of the fifth anniversary and it concludes: “Five years since the uprising that ousted Mubarak, Egypt is once more a police state. The country’s ubiquitous state security body, the National Security Agency, is firmly in charge.”

The same sentiment is echoed in the long piece in the Huffington Post of 25 January 2016 by Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH and Bahey eldin Hassan, Director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

MAHMOUD KHALED VIA GETTY IMAGES

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Broad coalition of NGOs at UN condemns Egypt’s treatment of women human rights defenders

March 23, 2015

During the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on Egypt in the UN Human Rights Council on 20 March 2015 the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (for the composition see below), made a forceful statement about the terrible situation of women human rights defenders in that country.

“The systematic judicial harassment faced by many women human rights defenders is highlighted through the emblematic case of the seven women defenders2 arrested on 21 June 2014 for protesting peacefully against the Protest and Public Assembly Law (No. 107), who faced arduous hassles including prolonged pre-trial detention. Their sentence was finally reduced to two years of imprisonment and two years of surveillance by the appeals court in December 2014. [The seven are: Ms. Sanaa Seif, Ms. Yara Sallam, Ms. Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Ms. Salwa Mihriz, Ms. Samar Ibrahim, Ms. Nahid Bebo and Rania El-Sheikh]

Furthermore, we strongly condemn the killing of Shaimaa ElSabbagh during a peaceful protest on 24 January 2015. She was taking part in a gathering to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the 25 January revolution. We call on the Egyptian government to ensure a prompt, independent and effective investigation to identify the perpetrator and hold them to account. In this connection, we are deeply concerned that Azza Soliman from the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), who was witness to the incident and testified before the Prosecutor’s Office, is now targeted as a suspect and charges have been brought against her under the public assembly law.

Finally, we express our continued dismay over sexual violence against women in online and offline public spaces. Though a national strategy to combat violence against women has been announced, we emphasise the need for it to be comprehensive and holistic with involvement of all relevant ministries and stakeholders, as well as adequate budget allocation. During the UPR, the government highlighted a new amendment to the Penal Code article 306, which addresses sexual harassment. This amendment is far insufficient in its scope as it only considers sexual harassment a crime if the intent of the perpetrator is proven to be related to obtaining sexual benefits…”

The Coalition members:  Amnesty International, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, Centre for Reproductive Rights, Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, Coalition of African Lesbians, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights First, Information Monitor (INFORM), International Federation for Human Rights, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia-Pacific (IWRAW-AP), Isis International, ISIS Women’s International Cross- Cultural Exchange, Just Associates (JASS), The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), MADRE, Nazra for Feminist Studies, Peace Brigades International, Rainbow Rights Project Inc, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, WOmen’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), World Organisation against Torture (OMCT).

An exceptional Egyptian family of human rights defenders

August 21, 2014

The family of MEA 2013 Final Nominee, Mona Seif, continues to be under the greatest strain in Egypt. Front Line Defenders reports that on 18 August 2014, her brother, human rights defender Mr Alaa Abd El Fattah, began a hunger strike to protest his detention [http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/AlaaAbdElFattah] and said that he will remain on hunger strike until he is released. Her sister human rights defender Ms Sanaa Seif also continues to be imprisoned. [https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/26336]. Her father, human rights defender Ahmed Seif El-Islam is in the Intensive Care Unit of Qasr el-Eini hospital. Her family had tried several times to visit the father, but in vain.

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.