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Egypt: CFJ stands in solidarity with female activists following assault complaint during protest at UN Women’s Office in Cairo

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Press release

Geneva – May 29, 2024


A group of female activists and human rights defenders in Egypt have filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor regarding the violations and assaults they faced, which were in breach of the law, during and after their arrest in front of the UN Women’s Regional Office in Cairo. The arrests occurred during a protest they organized in support of women in Gaza and Sudan on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Among those who filed the complaint are journalists Iman Aouf, Rasha Azab, and Hadir El-Mahdawy, as well as lawyers Asmaa Naeem, Ragia Omran, and Mahienour El-Massry. The complaint, registered as No. 32051 of 2024, was submitted to the Technical Office of the Public Prosecutor. The lawyers requested a meeting with the Public Prosecutor or his representative and were informed that a meeting would be scheduled later.

The complainants reported that they were assaulted during their arrest and while in detention. They experienced excessive force, which contravenes the Penal Code, the laws governing demonstrations and assemblies, and the legal procedures for dispersing gatherings. The accusations also include sexual assault during searches and harassment while in detention, as well as the unlawful arrest of lawyers performing their duties.

On April 24, 2024, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to release all the detainees involved in the women’s protest at the UN Women’s office, setting bail at EGP 5,000 and EGP 10,000, except for journalists Youssef Shaaban and Mohamed Farag, who were released on their residence guarantees. This decision pertains to Case No. 1567 of 2024, State Security Investigations.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) fully supports the activists and lawyers in their complaint to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor. CFJ urges the Public Prosecutor to exercise his legal and constitutional authority to conduct an impartial, prompt, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of the assaults, to hold those responsible accountable, and to prevent impunity.

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