Egypt: Abduction and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wael Abbas

24/05/2018
Urgent Appeal

EGY 003 / 0518 / OBS 075
Abduction /
Incommunicado detention
Egypt
May 24, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the abduction and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wael Abbas, journalist and human rights defender. He is the author of the Misrdigital blog since 2006, in which he documents cases of corruption, harassment of women, police brutality and discusses Egyptian society.

According to the information received, on May 23, 2018 at 4:30 am, Mr. Wael Abbas’ apartment was raided by heavily armed police personnel who did not present any warrant. Mr. Wael Abbas posted a message on his Facebook account saying he was being arrested. He was taken blindfolded to an unknown location after they seized computers, telephones, some books and several other items that belong to him. It is likely that Mr. Wael Abbas is detained in a state security facility. He does not have access to his lawyer and family.

Although no official charges have been filed against him, a security spokesman told the press that he would be accused of “joining a banned group” and “publishing false news”.

This is not the first time that Mr. Wael Abbas is targeted by the authorities for his human rights activities, as in the past years his Facebook account had been temporarily taken down by Egyptian authorities, and his Twitter account has been suspended since December 2017. In January 2018, Mr. Wael Abbasreported that this suspension was linked to accusations of being linked to ISIS pending against him.

The Observatory strongly condemns the incommunicado detention of Mr. Wael Abbas, which significantly enhances his vulnerability to ill-treatment, and urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately disclose his whereabouts and ensure he has unhindered access to his family and lawyers.

The Observatory further urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Wael Abbas as his detention is arbitrary and clearly aims at punishing his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory is particularly concerned as Mr. Wael Abbas is the third human rights defenders to be arrested since May 11, 2018, as Ms. Amal Fathy [1] and Mr. Haytham Mohamadein [2] remain arbitrarily detained.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Wael Abbas, Haytham Mohamadein, Ms. Amal Fathyand all human rights defenders in Egypt;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Wael Abbas, Haytham Mohamadein, Ms. Amal Fathyas their detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at punishing them for their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, Messrs. Wael Abbas, Haytham Mohamadein, Ms. Amal Fathyand all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2; and

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.

Addresses:

· President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
· Prime Minister, Mr. Sherif Ismail. Fax: + 202 2735 6449 / 27958016.
· Minister of the Interior, Mr. Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar, Fax: +202 2579 2031 / 2794 5529
· Minister of Justice, Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103 

· Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Waly, Fax: +202 3337 5390
· Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
· Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg
· H.E. Mr. Amr Ramadan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
· Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.

***
Geneva-Paris, May 24, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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