Egypt: Ahead of tomorrow’s verdict, the Observatory renews its call to drop all charges against Ms. Amal Fathy

28/09/2018
Press release

Geneva-Paris, September 28, 2018. After more than four months of arbitrary detention, woman human rights defender Ms. Amal Fathy will receive tomorrow the verdict on one of the two criminal cases brought against her in May 2018 in retaliation for her human rights activities. The Observatory renews its call to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Amal Fathy, drop all charges against her and put an end to all forms of judicial harassment against her.

On September 29, 2018, the Maadi Misdemeanours Court in Cairo will issue the much-expected verdict on Ms. Amal Fathy, unjustly accused of “publication of false news undermining national security”, “possession of indecent material”, and “publicly insulting”. The charges relate to a video posted on Facebook on May 9, 2018 in which Ms. Fathy criticises the Egyptian Government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment as well as over a general deterioration in living conditions in the country. She might face up to three years in prison and a fine.

“If anybody wants to see how scrupulously a state is destroying the life of an innocent person, this is the case of Amal Fathy. A delightful mother of a small child detained without reason or cause for over four months. Her real crime? Voicing an opinion and having a husband working on the killing and torture of Giulio Regini and others”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. “On Saturday, the Egyptian courts have a choice to make between being willing executioners complicit in committing a crime or living up the ethics of being a judge”.

On May 11, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy was at home, in company of her husband, Mr. Mohamed Lotfy [1], and their three-year-old son, when the security forces broke into her house, seized the couple’s phones and brought the whole family to Maadi police station [2]. Three hours later, Mr. Lofty and his son were released, while Ms. Amal Fathy was placed under preventive detention.

Ms. Amal Fathy is facing two sets of accusations: the former, for which she will receive the verdict on Saturday, is in relation to the video posted on Facebook on May 9, 2018 (Case No. 7991 of 2018 or Maadi case); the second concerns her involvement with ECRF as well as the activities of her husband (Case No. 621 of 2018 or State Security Prosecution Case) [3]. Despite her formal release on bail with regard to the Maadi case [4], Ms. Amal Fathy is still detained at Qanater women’s prison under the State Security Prosecution Case, under consecutive 2-weeks renewals, the latter of which has been approved on September 26, 2018.

“Ms. Amal Fathy’s health conditions are rapidly deteriorating as she suffers from acute stress reaction caused by her arbitrary detention. As such, we cannot wait a day longer for her release and her acquittal from all unfair charges that have been brought against her” added Shawan Jabarin, FIDH Vice President.

In the past months, Ms. Amal Fathy has received solidarity messages and support from different international organisations. In his parting message on August 30, 2018, High Commissioner Zeid described her as a “brave individua[l] who have put [her] own safety at risk as [she] have spoken out against injustice and on behalf of victims of human-rights violations”5.

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. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

For more information, please contact:

OMCT: Marta Gionco: +41 228 09 49 39; mgi@omct.org
FIDH: Maryna Chebat: +33 6 49 10 83 65 - mchebat@fidh.org - @MS_Chebat

[1] Mr. Mohamed Lotfy is the Executive Director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF). The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time that ECRF and its members are subjected to harassment, due to their documentation of cases of torture in prisons, enforced disappearances as well as their legal support in Giulio Regeni’s case (See Observatory Urgent Appeal EGY 004 / 0917 / OBS 105, published on September 27, 2017).
[2] See the Observatory’s Urgent Appeal EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059, issued on May 12, 2018.
[3] Under this case, she is facing charges of “joining a terrorist group”, “publishing false news to disrupt public security and harm national interests” and “using the internet to call for acts of terrorism”.
[4] See the Observatory’s Urgent Appeal EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059.4, issued on June 22, 2018.

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