IFEX, the global network of over 100 organisations dedicated to promoting and defending freedom of expression and information, calls on authorities in Egypt to immediately drop their politically-motivated prosecution of human rights defender Gamal Eid, describing it as the latest example of a sustained program of judicial harassment against him.
Gamal Eid is a prominent lawyer, human rights defender and director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), an IFEX member organisation. Over the past 10 years, he has been subjected to an extensive campaign of judicial and physical harassment, including a travel ban, an assets freeze, and a brutal beating at the hands of Egyptian security forces.
Counselor Ali Mokhtar, the newly-mandated investigative judge in the case against Eid, held the first investigative session with his lawyer on July 27, 2021. ANHRI reports that Eid and his lawyers were surprised to see that the approximately 2,000-page case file against him included numerous false claims and allegations. The Committee to Protect Journalists has described as “ridiculous” the Egyptian authorities’ allegation that it funded Eid & ANHRI in an attempt to defame Egypt internationally. The charges against Eid were first filed over 10 years ago.
“We are deeply alarmed at this latest example of Egypt’s sustained program of judicial harassment of our colleague Gamal Eid,” stated IFEX Executive Director Annie Game. “Gamal is one of the strongest independent voices still fighting for human rights in a country that has been dismantling civil society and closing the space for freedom of expression and information for far too long. The trumped-up charges against him should be dropped immediately, along with the travel ban and assets freeze. Furthermore, those responsible for the previous attacks against him must be held accountable.”
Commenting on the case, Gamal Eid stated: “I showed the Counselor the Police Academy shield, which the Ministry of Interior gave me when I trained its leaders, back when it was still claiming to welcome the reform of the ministry of interior initiative. I also showed him a pamphlet and a brochure of al-Karama Public Libraries, which I have established in popular neighborhoods to serve the citizens of these areas, and which were shut down in a police manner. He who spends his own money on public libraries does not topple the state, but rather tries to build society and the state, while tyranny and the absence of the rule of law are what destroys states and societies.”
Eid’s case is emblematic of the deterioration in Egypt’s human rights situation over recent years, as the al-Sisi regime cracks down on all forms of dissent. Earlier this year ANHRI joined other leading Egyptian human rights organisations in calling for the urgent implementation of seven steps the Egyptian authorities should take to show they’re serious about addressing human rights concerns:
- Free Political Prisoners of all backgrounds imprisoned or detained in the thousands for their peaceful actions.
- Halt “Endless” Detentions, which are a tactic to keep critics in indefinite pretrial custody by launching multiple cases against them.
- Lift the State of Emergency in force since 2017 in violation of the Constitution that authorities have exploited to suspend all due process rights.
- Stay All Executions in political and criminal cases until their review by a presidential pardon board.
- Stop Criminal Prosecutions of Human Rights Activists and close the infamous Case 173 of 2011 (“Foreign-Funding” Case) targeting civil society organizations.
- Withdraw the Draft Personal Status Law that reverses years of progress on women’s rights and launch a national debate on a new fair family law with equal rights for women.
- Reverse the Blocking of Websites imposed illegally in the absence of court orders to censor critical media and content.
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Source: MEDIA FEED