COP27 bulletin: On day 4, Egypt government supporters attack family of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, while arbitrary arrests continue and a death sentence is approved
The press conference by Sana Seif, the sister of detained activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, held on Tuesday, has cast a shadow over the activities of the fourth day of COP27, as government supporters attempted to justify the detention of Abdel-Fattah.
Egyptian government affiliated organizations attack Abdel Fattah family:
Sanaa Seif and the family of detained activist Alaa Abdel Fattah have come under attack by pro-government voices at COP27. The human rights lawyer and member of the National Council for Human Rights, Nihad Abul Qumsan, attacked Abdel-Fattah’s family in a press conference in the presence of Sanaa. The lawyer claimed that she sought Abdel Fattah’s release twice before receiving complaints from women claiming that they were insulted and verbally assaulted by him. Abul Qumsan then resorted to her personal Facebook page and YouTube channel to defend herself and continue the attack on the family, claiming she was not allowed to present her opinion at the conference. Abul Qumsan’s rhetoric is similar to comments by a number of pro-government journalists who claimed Abdel Fattah was not a political prisoner but rather detained in connection with criminal charges.
More international calls to free Alaa Abdel Fattah:
During a conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s release, noting that other heads of state and government had contacted the Egyptian president on this matter in order to reach an urgent decision so that the Abdel-Fattah’s hunger strike does not end in death.
US administration officials reportedly said that US President Joe Biden intends to discuss human rights with President Sisi upon his arrival in Egypt to attend COP27.
Foreign Policy magazine published a report on the way the conference shed light on the human rights crisis in Egypt. It stated that hosting COP27 was supposed to be a source of pride for Egypt, but with activists and human rights groups using the high-level conference to highlight Abdel-Fattah’s case, it has become impossible for Cairo to escape international scrutiny of its human rights violations and sweeping crackdowns.
In response to the statement of the United Nations High Commissioner, Tuesday, calling for the release of Abdel-Fattah, the Egyptian mission to the United Nations in Geneva responded to the statement by rejecting it, describing it as a statement regarding the case of an Egyptian citizen who has been tried and convicted and is currently serving his sentence, and that the call for his release undermines the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, which is “an indispensable cornerstone for the protection of human rights”. Dozens of people also organized a stand in solidarity with the Egyptian parliament member, Amr Darwish, who was expelled from the Sanaa Seif conference yesterday, after trying to disrupt the conference by attacking her during her panel.
Arrests and a new death sentence:
The contradiction between the statements of the Egyptian authorities in Sharm El-Sheikh and the actions of the security services continued on Wednesday. The authorities allow demonstrations calling for saving the planet, while arresting dozens of citizens in anticipation of calls to demonstrate on November 11. The Committee for Justice documented that the the Supreme State Security Prosecution has conducted investigations with 31 people against the background of the November 11 protests.
With regard to judicial rulings, CFJ documented the upholding of a death sentence against Azzam Ali Shehata in Case No. 108/2015 Military/Criminal, Alexandria, by the Military Appeals Court, which renders it a final and enforceable judgment.