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Egypt: CFJ calls for release of workers’ rights defender Sameh Zakaria and an end to pretrial detention for activists

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Press Release

By: Committee for Justice

Geneva: September 13, 2023


The Cairo Criminal Court, held at the Badr Prisons Complex, has renewed the detention of Sameh Zakaria, an employee of the Egyptian Ambulance Authority, for 45 days in relation to case number 2412 of 2022 of the Supreme State Security.


Detention and Forced Disappearance:

The Supreme State Security Prosecution has leveled several charges against Zakaria, including accusations of joining a terrorist group, financing it, and sharing fake news. It is noteworthy that Zakaria was arrested due to his labor activism and his advocacy for workers’ rights. He was forcibly disappeared for four months before appearing for the first time at the State Security Prosecution on December 21, 2022, with his pretrial detention renewed since then.


End Using Pretrial Detention as a Weapon Against Activists:

The Justice Committee calls on Egyptian authorities to cease targeting activists and defenders of workers’ rights and to provide a safe civil space that allows them to carry out their legitimate and peaceful human and labor rights activities. The committee also urges Egyptian authorities to halt the use of pretrial detention (extended detention before trial) as a weapon against activists and defenders, and to either release Zakaria or provide him with a trial that meets internationally recognized standards of fairness.


Labor Justice Project:

The Labor Justice Project is the latest initiative of CFJ. Through this project, the committee aims to enhance local and international awareness regarding the state of labor rights in Egypt and explore ways to achieve justice for workers. The approach followed by CFJ involves effective communication with the international community, including the International Labour Organization, and relevant United Nations mechanisms. This includes monitoring labor market violations in Egypt and highlighting the dynamics of local laws and policies that impact workers’ rights in alignment with international human rights principles and agreements

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