Urgent Appeal

Egypt: CIHRS Director, Bahey eldin Hassan, sentenced to 15 years in prison


The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing and judicial harassment of Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan, Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan is currently living in exile.

According to the information received, on August 25, 2020, Cairo’s 5th Circuit Terrorism Court sentenced Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan, in absentia, to 15 years of prison [1]. He was convicted of “spreading fake news”, “inciting hatred against the state” and “defaming the judiciary” under Articles 80, 102bis, 171/5 and 184 of the Penal Code, and Articles 27 and 34 of the Cybercrimes Law.

The charges stemmed from Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan’s activity on Twitter and his advocacy activities during the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in June 2018. The case file includes a Twitter photograph [2] of Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan speaking at a CIHRS-sponsored side event on torture in Egypt during this UNHRC session.

The case started with petition No. 7393/2018 and was referred to Cairo’s 5th Circuit Terrorism Court on January 21, 2020, after around 18 months of investigation.

The Observatory believes that this sentence is a reprisal for Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan’s continued work exposing human rights violations and promoting human rights in Egypt, including at the UNHRC in Geneva and in meetings with UN officials.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan is targeted, and that he recently learnt, in March 2020, about a three-year prison sentence and a 20,000 EGP fine (approximately 1,188 Euros) which were handed down against him in politically-motivated case No. 5530/2019. The charges in that case stemmed from a comment Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan published on Twitter in March 2018, in which he criticised the Public Prosecution’s abandonment of its role in defending citizens [3].

The Observatory firmly condemns the sentencing and ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan, which seem to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities and his exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

The Observatory calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan and all Egyptian human rights defenders.

How You Can Help


Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan and all Egyptian human rights defenders in all circumstances;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Bahey eldin Hassan and all Egyptian human rights defenders, and ensure they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iii. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1, and 12.2;

iv. Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in all circumstances, in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments to which Egypt is a State party.

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