There must be accountability for the systematic abduction of human rights defenders by Egypt’s state security services, the latest of whom is Mohamed Basheer, the Administrative Manager of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
At dawn on Sunday, Egypt’s National Security Agency raided the home of Basheer, in a flagrant violation of the national constitution, as he was prevented from making a phone call to his family or lawyer. Furthermore, the State Security Prosecution’s investigative reports failed to mention or disclose the reasons for his detention as stipulated by Egypt’s constitution.
The undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations further denounce the State Security Prosecution’s trumped up charges against Basheer, the same fabricated charges commonly used against human rights defenders, journalists, pro- democracy activists, and others, such as “joining a terrorist group,” “spreading false information that undermines public security,” and “funding terrorism.”
Basheer has been added to the Case No. 855 of 2020. There is no evidence or legal rationale for his prosecution in the case, which is in fact retaliation for his work at the EIPR in defending human rights. Recently, a number of European ambassadors visited the EIPR’s headquarters to learn about its activities and discuss human rights issues. This indicates the charges against Basheer are politicized, especially in the backdrop of the Egyptian government’s severe antagonism towards human rights organizations and other independent institutions.
Unfortunately, the conduct of the State Security Prosecution also indicates its continued complicity and involvement in the crackdown against civil society in Egypt. This is only the latest of many cases in which the State Security Prosecution ordered the incarceration of human rights defenders following unfair investigations, although they had not violated the law or committed any crime. Among the many human rights defenders unjustly imprisoned are Mahienour Al-Masry, Mohamed Ramadan, Amr Imam, Mohamed Al-Baqer, and Zyad Al-Elelaimy. Their sole ‘crime’ was their exercise of free speech and the legal, legitimate conduct of their professional obligations.
Mohamed Basheer, 54, had been working as the Administrative Manager at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) for nearly seven years. He is astonished and traumatized by his detention order, as he has never violated the law. He is added to the thousands of innocent prisoners of conscience in Egypt, behind bars on the basis of fabricated charges and unfair investigations conducted by the State Security Prosecution.
The undersigned independent human rights organizations affirm that the unjust practices of Egypt’s state security and police against defenders of human rights and democracy cannot continue without accountability; such practices are being documented and reported by the organizations to this end.
The undersigned call on the Public Prosecutor to immediately release Mohamed Basheer and his co-defendants unjustly detained under Case no. 855. Moreover, all human rights defenders, journalists, and other prisoners of conscience prosecuted under politicized cases must be released.
The undersigned also demand an end to the State Security Prosecution’s practice of imprisoning innocent persons based on the investigative reports conducted by National Security Agency officers. The State Security Prosecution must enforce the law and respect Egypt’s constitution.
- The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
- Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
- Foundation for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
- Committee for Justice (CFJ)
- Andalus Institute for Tolerance & Anti-violence Studies “AITAS”
- Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
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