The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.
The Observatory has been informed about the sentencing and ongoing judicial harassment against Amal Fathy, a women’s rights defender known for being vocal against human rights violations, in particular the arbitrary detention of activists in Egypt. Amal Fathy is married to Mohamed Lotfy, Executive Director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) and a member of the OMCT General Assembly.
On January 11, 2022, the Egyptian Court of Cassation upheld Amal Fathy’s conviction in Case No. 7991 of 2018, reducing her sentence to one year’s imprisonment including time served.
The case against Amal Fathy dates back to May 11, 2018, when she was arrested and placed under preventive detention for posting a video on Facebook on May 9, 2018 in which she criticised the Egyptian Government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment as well as denounced a general deterioration of living conditions in the country.
On September 29, 2018, the Maadi Misdemeanor Court sentenced Amal Fathy to two years in prison, a fine of 10,000 EGP and a bail of 20,000 EGP to suspend the sentence, for “publication of false news undermining national security”, “possession of indecent material”, and “publicly insulting the State”. On September 30, 2018, Amal Fathy appealed the case and paid the bail but remained detained under a second case (see below). On December 30, 2018, the Cairo Court of Appeal rejected Ms. Fathy’s appeal and confirmed her two-year jail sentence.
This sentence was handed down just after she was conditionally released on December 27, 2018, under Case No. 621 of 2018, in which she is still facing charges of “joining a terrorist group”, “publishing false news to disrupt public security and harm national interests” and “using the internet to call for acts of terrorism”. The case was brought against her on May 13, 2018 in relation to her suspected participation in the April 6 Youth Movement and her husband’s human rights activities.
The Observatory notes with concern that the harassment against Amal Fathy takes place in a context of increased repression against human rights defenders in Egypt, where the authorities have increasingly employed repressive tactics such as prolonged pre-trial detention, recycling cases against dissidents, enforced disappearance, torture, unjust sentences and judicial harassment to silence all critical voices, including through unfounded investigations for national security and counter-terrorism related charges.
The Observatory further recalls that the ECRF and its staff members are regularly subjected to harassment, due to their documentation of cases of torture in prisons, enforced disappearances as well as their legal support in Giulio Regeni’s case.
The Observatory strongly condemns the sentencing and ongoing judicial harassment of Amal Fathy, which only aims at punishing her for her legitimate work in defence of human rights and represents a serious infringement of her right to freedom of expression, and urges the Egyptian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her.
Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:
i. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Amal Fathy, Mohamed Lotfy as well as against all human rights defenders in Egypt and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance and fear of reprisals;
ii. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, as enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
- Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email: email@example.com
- Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Head of the Egyptian Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email: email@example.com
- Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council for Human Rights, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: email@example.com
- Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.
Geneva-Paris, January 14, 2022
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
- E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
- Tel. OMCT: +41 22 809 49 39
- Tel. FIDH: +33 1 43 55 25 18