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Cop27: Greta Thunberg calls on Egypt’s President Sisi to release political prisoners 

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Press release

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice

Geneva: October 21, 2022

The prominent Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, has called on Egyptian authorities to release all political prisoners, before the launch of the United Nations Climate Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh (COP27), which will be held from November 6 to 18.

Thunberg called on activists and her Twitter followers to sign the Cop Civic Space petition, which she also signed, to release prisoners of conscience in Egypt.

International movement to put pressure on Egyptian authorities:

In the same vein, Climate Action Network International, the world’s largest gathering of climate NGOs, signed the petition, calling on the Egyptian authorities to urgently address the human rights crisis in Egypt, including lifting restrictions on civic space, and ending the repression of peaceful dissent and the release of all political prisoners.

No effective climate action without an open civic space:

The petition was launched by Cop Civic Space, a coalition of Egyptian human rights groups, in an attempt to increase pressure on the Egyptian authorities to stop committing violations, and demanded them to release about 60,000 political prisoners held in appalling conditions, subjected to systematic torture and denied adequate medical care.

The petition states that there is no effective climate action without an open civic space, while calling on the Egyptian authorities to ensure the meaningful participation of civil society organizations, activists and communities in all climate-related discussions and activities and to develop and implement a just transition policy at all levels of decision-making without fear of reprisals.

It also called on Egypt to end the prosecutions of activists and civil society organizations and to ensure a space for civil society – including human rights defenders – to work without fear of intimidation, harassment, arrest, detention or any other form of reprisal.

In its conclusion, the petition stressed that the Egyptian authorities must take meaningful steps to address the human rights crisis, including by lifting restrictions on civic space and ending their crackdown on peaceful dissent.

Pre-emptive crackdown:

It remains unclear whether the authorities in Egypt will allow the effective participation of civil society in the summit, given that the Protest Law effectively prohibits protests. Meanwhile, there are reports about the installation of police checkpoints in downtown Cairo, and that plainclothes police officers search phones for anti-government content ahead of the climate summit.

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