The undersigned human rights organizations condemn the arrest of Gasser Abdel Razek, Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and one of the pioneers of the human rights movement in Egypt, as security forces took him from his home in Maadi to an unknown destination this evening. The signatory organizations affirm that the security crackdown against the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights will not deter the EIPR or any other organization from continuing to defend human rights.
The Egyptian government has escalated its assault on the EIPR since the beginning of this week, when security forces arrested Mohamed Basheer, the EIPR administrative director. This was followed by yesterday’s arrest of Karim Ennarah, the director of EIPR’s criminal justice unit. Conducted through state-aligned media outlets, the crackdown features a widescale media campaign levelling accusations of treason and terrorism against employees at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and other human rights organizations.
The signatory organizations believe that this security crackdown against the EIPR is yet another escalation of the state’s ongoing repressive practices against civil society, in which a number of employees at human rights organizations have been arrested. Organizations targeted, especially over the past two years, include the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, and the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms. Human rights defenders have also been subjected to travel bans and asset freezes as part of the prosecution of Case 173 of 2011, known as the Foreign Funding Case. Following the January 2011 revolution, the Foreign Funding Case was fabricated by the Egyptian government with the aim of intimidating human rights organizations and deterring them from continuing their work in defending human rights.
The signatory organizations call on all parties concerned with the human rights situation in Egypt to take clear and appropriate stances urging the Egyptian government to end its security crackdown and stop imposing restrictions on civil society, while ensuring the release of detained colleagues.
Over years and even decades, the signatory organizations have worked diligently to defend human rights in Egypt under severe conditions and challenges. The repressive and retaliatory practices of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government will not alter the organizations’ positions or their support of Egyptian citizens in their struggle to secure their political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights.
The signatory organizations call on all defenders of democracy and human rights in Egypt, such as individuals, organizations, associations, parties and unions, to show solidarity with Egyptian human rights organizations as they face a punitive security crackdown that aims to cripple the ability of civil society to confront totalitarian rule.
The signatory organizations:
- The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
- El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
- The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
- The Freedom Initiative
- The Egyptian Front for Human Rights.
- The Committee for Justice (CFJ)
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