Alaa Abd El-Fattah – Urgent Appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

In Egypt /Road Map Program, Statements and Position Papers by CIHRS

Dear Members of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,

We, the undersigned 34 freedom of expression and human rights organisations, are writing regarding the recent submission to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) filed on behalf of the award-winning writer and activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a British-Egyptian citizen.

On 14 November 2023, Alaa Abd El-Fattah and his family filed an urgent appeal with the UNWGAD, submitting that his continuing detention in Egypt is arbitrary and contrary to international law. Alaa Abd El-Fattah and his family are represented by an International Counsel team led by English barrister Can Yeğinsu.

Alaa Abd-El Fattah has spent much of the past decade imprisoned in Egypt on charges related to his writing and activism and remains arbitrarily detained in Wadi al-Natrun prison and denied consular visits. He is a key case of concern to our organisations.

Around this time last year (11 November 2022), UN Experts in the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council joined the growing chorus of human rights voices demanding Abd el-Fattah’s immediate release.

We, the undersigned organisations, are writing in support of the recent UNWGAD submission and to urge the Working Group to consider and announce their opinion on Abd El-Fattah’s case at the earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Adam Coogle, Deputy Middle East Director, Human Rights Watch
  2. Ahmed Attalla, Executive Director, Egyptian Front for Human Rights
  3. Ahmed Salem, Executive Director, Sinai Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR)
  4. Ahmed Samih Farag, General Director, Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
  5. Alice Mogwe, President, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  6. Aline Batarseh, Executive Director, Visualizing Impact
  7. Antoine Bernard, Director of Advocacy and Assistance, Reporters Sans Frontières
  8. Bahey eldin Hassan, Director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  9. Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, Director, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
  10. Brett Solomon, Executive Director, Access Now
  11. Daniel Gorman, Director, English PEN
  12. Grace Westcott, President, PEN Canada
  13. James Lynch, Co-Director, FairSquare
  14. Jillian C. York, Director for International Freedom of Expression, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  15. Jodie Ginsberg, President, Committee to Protect Journalists
  16. Kamel Labidi, Board member, Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State
  17. Khalid Ibrahim, Executive Director, Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
  18. Liesl Gerntholtz, Director, Freedom To Write Center, PEN America
  19. Mai El-Sadany, Executive Director, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)
  20. Matt Redding, Head of Advocacy, IFEX
  21. Mazen Darwish, General Director, The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
  22. Menna Elfyn, President, Wales PEN Cymru
  23. Miguel Martín Zumalacárregui, Head of the Europe Office, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  24. Mohamad Najem, Executive Director, SMEX
  25. Quinn McKew, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19
  26. Ricky Monahan Brown, President, Scottish PEN
  27. Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director, PEN International
  28. Ruth Kronenburg, Executive Director, Free Press Unlimited
  29. Samar Elhusseiny, Programs Officer, Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF)
  30. Sarah Sheykhali, Executive Director, and Mostafa Fouad, Head of Programs, HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement
  31. Sayed Nasr, Executive Director, EgyptWide for Human Rights
  32. Shireen Al Khatib, Acting Director, The Palestinian Center For Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)
  33. Tess McEnery, Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
  34. Wadih Al Asmar, President, EuroMed Rights

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