Radio Horytna Office Raided and Director Detained

In Statements and Position Papers by CIHRS

86045_largeThe undersigned organizations unequivocally condemn the ongoing campaign to intimidate and terrorize human rights defenders in Egypt. The recent arrest of Ahmed Samih, the director of Radio Horytna and the Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, is politically motivated and aims to limit the tools civil society uses to spread a culture of human rights.

A force from the Sayyida Zeinab police station and the Artistic Products Investigations Unit raided the office of Radio Horytna on Qasr al-Aini St. on Saturday, April 4. The force searched the premises and questioned staff about how they write the news, the content of their news reports, and whether they were affiliated with any political groups or forces. The force then arrested human rights defender Ahmed Samih and referred him to the Sayyida Zeinab Prosecution the same day. After he was questioned, documents were submitted proving the falsity of the allegations against him. Nevertheless, the prosecution ordered that Samih remain in detention until the following day pending the findings of the Internet Investigations Inquiries unit.

After the investigation file was submitted, yesterday April 5, the Sayyida Zeinab Prosecution released Samih on a bail of LE5,000 with five charges including disseminating audio and visual content without a license from the competent authorities and managing a facility without a permit.

Radio Horytna is an online radio station that has been broadcasting since 2007. An initiative of the Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, Radio Horytna was established to reach a broader youth audience in the promotion of a culture of diversity and respect for human rights.

In a hostile political climate that does not guarantee freedom for rights groups and organizations, and amid the violation of the right to freedom of expression and opinion, enshrined in the Egyptian constitution of 2014, and the closure of the public sphere to those who engage in activities to preserve human rights in the country, the intention of this type of harassment and legal action is clear: to circumscribe and strangle the activities and initiatives of rights organizations and to make advocacy work, whether through organizations or initiatives, a dangerous endeavor.

Signatory organizations

  1. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  2. Nazra for Feminist Studies
  3. Alhaqanya Center for Law and Legal profession
  4. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
  5. Appropriate Communications Techniques for Development
  6. Arab Network for Human Rights Information
  7. Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  8. Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance
  9. El-Nadeem Centre for the rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture
  10. Hesham Mobarak Law Center
  11. Masryoon Against Religious Discrimination
  12. National group for human rights and law
  13. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
  14. The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
  15. The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies
  16. The Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child
  17. The Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Conditions
  18. The New Woman Foundation