“All of us at IFEX wish to express our profound concern and solidarity with our colleagues Gamal Eid, Amr Emam, Mohamed Zaree, and Bahey eldin Hassan following deeply alarming incidents.”
IFEX, the global network of over 100 organisations dedicated to promoting and defending freedom of expression and information, strongly condemns the ongoing violent crackdown against civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Egypt, including Gamal Eid and Amr Emam of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), and Mohamed Zaree and Bahey eldin Hassan from the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). Both ANHRI and CIHRS are IFEX members.
The last few weeks have seen dramatically escalating steps taken by Egyptian authorities to shut down civic space, including the arrest of nearly 2000 protestors — among them peaceful demonstrators, political leaders, rights activists, journalists, and lawyers — and which have culminated in attacks and arrests against our colleagues Gamal, Amr, Mohamed, and Bahey.
On Thursday, 10 October, Executive Director of ANHRI Gamal Eid was violently accosted in the street and beaten with the butt of a pistol while trying to resist the theft of his laptop and briefcase. His phone was stolen in the incident, and he was left with cracked ribs and a bruised shoulder.
Eid reports then being approached by individuals on the scene purporting to be local security forces. After asking him to accompany them to the local police station so he could make a report, they abruptly dropped him off in a nearby street and asked him to go ahead to the station, where they would meet him later. When Eid reached the station, it became clear that the individuals were not affiliated in any way with the local police force, and they had convinced him to get into their vehicle under false pretences.
Six days later, our colleague Amr Emam, a lawyer on staff with ANHRI, was arrested and kidnapped from his home at dawn by police forces. He then appeared in the State Security Prosecution as a defendant on false charges. This took place a few days after the arrest and kidnapping of prominent journalist and human rights defender Esraa Abdel Fattah, who was forcefully disappeared on Saturday, 12 October and tortured in detention.
In addition, Egyptian authorities have ignored incitements to murder the director of CIHRS, Bahey eldin Hassan, made by a prominent TV host earlier this year, and a lawsuit was recently filed to strip him of Egyptian citizenship. In further harassment of members of the organisation, Egyptian authorities froze the assets of CIHRS Egypt Program Director and Martin Ennals Award winner Mohamed Zaree in June of this year.
“All of us at IFEX wish to express our profound concern and solidarity with our colleagues Gamal, Amr, Mohamed, and Bahey following these deeply alarming incidents” said IFEX Executive Director Annie Game. “The recent escalation of repression marks a new low in Egypt’s crackdown against human rights defenders and civil society organisations, which clearly aims to shut down civic space and stifle dissenting voices. We call on the Egyptian authorities to end this violent crackdown, to put a stop to the attacks, arrests, and judicial harassment directed against our colleagues Gamal, Amr, Mohamed, and Bahey, and to drop all charges against them immediately and unconditionally.”
The IFEX network of organisations is connected by a shared commitment to defend and promote freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. A full list of member organisations is available on our website.
Media Specialist, IFEX
+1 778 232-1858