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CFJ issues Justice for HRDs fourth quarterly bulletin for October to December 2023

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In this fourth quarterly bulletin of the Justice for Human Rights Defenders project in 2023, the Committee for Justice documented violations against human rights defenders (HRDs) in Egypt during the period from December to October 2023.


The violations included arbitrary detention, prolonged pretrial detention, arbitrary deprivation of political rights, and exposure to unfair trial procedures. We will also address the incident of arbitrary detention and deportation of non-Egyptian human rights defenders following their demands to facilitate a humanitarian convoy to Gaza and open the Rafah border crossing.


Arbitrary Detention:

The bulletin highlighted the continued arbitrary detention of several human rights defenders, such as labor leader Sameh Zakaria, and journalists Hala Fahmy and Safaa El-Korbagy, as well as human rights lawyer Ahmed Nazeer El-Helw. Additionally, lawyer Mohamed Salah Agag was arrested.


Long-term Detention:

Many human rights defenders have also been subjected to prolonged pretrial detention, with some exceeding the maximum period allowed by law (two years). Among them are human rights activist Marwa Arafa, lawyer Ibrahim Metwally, human rights advocate Moataz Belallah Hasaby El-Nabi, and lawyer Fahti Mohamed Ghiaty, among others.


Targeting Foreign Activists:

Foreign activists were not spared from targeting by Egyptian authorities. Four foreign activists were arrested and deported for organizing a protest in front of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, demanding the opening of the Rafah border crossing for the passage of the “World Conscience Convoy” into the Gaza Strip.


Recycling of Detention:

Human rights lawyer Hoda Abdel Moneim also faced a recycling of detention after the completion of her 5-year prison sentence, as she was arrested again on the grounds of a new case by the Supreme State Security Prosecution, without the presence of her lawyer.


Unfair Trials:

Regarding unfair trials, the bulletin noted the military ruler’s approval of the verdict issued by the State Security Emergency Court against human rights activist Moaz El-Shami and others. The 10-year prison sentence on El-Shami becomes final and cannot be appealed or modified except through a presidential pardon. The (W) Circuit of the Egyptian Court of Cassation also rejected appeal No. 8/2020 related to terrorism entities, filed by human rights defender Ahmed Amasha. Additionally, the Economic Appellate Misdemeanor Court in Cairo rejected the appeal by journalist and former president of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Hisham Qassem, against his 6-month imprisonment with forced labor, fines, and civil compensation.


Deprivation of Political and Human Rights:

The bulletin addressed the Egyptian authorities’ deprivation of human rights defenders from exercising their political and human rights. Human rights lawyer Mahinour El-Masry filed a lawsuit against the head of the National Electoral Authority for being denied her constitutional and legal right to be included on the voter lists before the presidential elections. This came after she filed another lawsuit to prevent her from traveling.

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