Written by: The Committee for Justice
Geneva: September 13, 2023
Sources close to the Egyptian authorities have disclosed the fate of Mohamed Abdel Karim Zahran, the founder of the Teachers’ Independence Movement, the National Union of Egyptian Teachers, and the official spokesperson for teachers in the national dialogue, which was sponsored by Egyptian President Sisi.
Referred to the Supreme State Security Prosecution:
The Committee for Justice had earlier reported the mysterious disappearance of Zahran since September 5, 2023, from Cairo. He had not been presented to any prosecution or judicial entity. In reaction to this, Tarek Al-Awadi, a lawyer and a member of the Presidential Pardon Committee, disclosed that Zahran was later presented to the Supreme State Security Prosecution related to case number 2123 of 2023. Zahran faced multiple charges, including affiliation with a provocative group and spreading false news. A decision was made to detain him for 15 days, and he was transferred to the Tenth of Ramadan Men’s Prison.
It is worth noting that Zahran was previously arrested in 2020 during teacher protests. He is considered one of the most active figures in the teachers’ union in Egypt and currently serves as the Director of Gifted Student Care at the El Matareya Educational Administration, affiliated with the Cairo Governorate, and is also the head of the teachers’ union committee in El Matareya.
Detainment Impacts National Dialogue:
Meanwhile, the Committee for Justice reiterates its assertion that the detention of Zahran constitutes a severe blow to all the dialogue initiatives launched by the Egyptian authorities. CFJ points out that President Sisi’s call for a national dialogue, while activists, including participants in the dialogue, are still detained, renders these calls mere rhetoric with no practical application on the ground. CFJ also calls on the Egyptian authorities to release Zahran or subject him to a trial that adheres to internationally recognized standards of fair trial and to cease the policy of targeting activists and human rights defenders.