IFEX, the global network of over 100 organisations dedicated to promoting and defending the right to freedom of expression and information, has condemned as outrageous and politically-motivated the 15-year prison sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to its member Bahey eldin Hassan. Bahey is the director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and has over 30 years experience advocating for freedom of expression and the basic human rights of Egyptians. He now lives in exile, having left Egypt in 2014 after receiving death threats.
IFEX supports CIHRS’s call for Egyptian authorities to end their long-running campaign of intimidation, repression, and judicial harassment against human rights defenders and others exercising their right to freedom of expression – of which this politicised judgement against Bahey forms the latest chapter. Last year, the network spoke out after several of its members were attacked or arrested as part of a violent crackdown targeting peaceful demonstrators, political leaders, rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.
The fabricated charges against Bahey – of “disseminating false information” and “insulting the judiciary” – are commonly used to silence those who speak out on human rights issues. In Bahey’s case, the charges related to social media posts criticising the Egyptian judiciary’s lack of independence, and for speaking at a UN Human Rights Council panel about the killing in Egypt of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni.
“We unequivocally condemn this outrageous and politically-motivated ruling,” said IFEX Executive Director Annie Game. “Bahey is a deeply respected colleague with a decades-long history of promoting and defending freedom of expression. His only ‘crime’ is his lifetime of work standing up for the basic human rights of Egypt’s people, and his sentence is a stark reminder that Egyptians deserve so much better than a politicised judiciary in the service of authoritarianism.”
“The entire IFEX network stands united in calling for Bahey’s profoundly unjust sentence to be quashed, and for Egyptian authorities to immediately end their crackdown against human rights defenders and all those exercising their right to freedom of expression.”
Source: MEDIA FEED