Egypt: Arbitrary detention of activist Ms. Amal Fathy

Urgent Appeal

EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
May 12, 2018

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

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention of activist Ms. Amal Fathy for posting a video on social media criticising the Government’s failure to protect women against sexual harassment. Ms. Fathy is known for being vocal against human rights violations in Egypt, in particular the arbitrary detention of activists.

According to the information received, on May 11, 2018, at around 2.30 am, Egyptian security forces broke into the house in Cairo of Ms. Amal Fathy and her husband Mr. Mohamed Lotfy, Executive Director ofthe Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), and started searching the house. Their mobile phones were seized and they were denied the right to communicate with a lawyer or their relatives.

The two activists were brought to Maadi police station, in the south of Cairo, along with their three-year-old son. Around three hours later, Mr. Lotfy and his son were released. A prosecutor subsequently placed Ms. Amal Fathy under preventive detention for 15 days. She was accused of diffusing a video and photos harming national security and misusing the Internet.

On May 9, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathyposted a 12-minute video on Facebook criticising the Egyptian Government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment as well as over a general deterioration in living conditions in the country.

Over the next day, pro-government and State-owned media outlets released articles citing the video, identifying Ms. Fathy as an April 6 movement activist and the wife of Mohamed Lotfy and accusing her of insulting Egypt and Egyptian institutions. This was followed by a wave of harassment on social media along with threats against Ms. Fathy.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Ms. Amal Fathy, which merely aims at punishing her for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities as well as those of her husband. 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 supportin Giulio Regeni’s case [1].

The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to release Ms. Amal Fathyimmediately and unconditionally and to put an end to all forms of harassment against her, including at the judicial level.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Amal Fathy, Mr. Mohamed Lotfy, their relatives and all human rights defenders in Egypt;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Amal Fathyas well as all detained human rights defender in Egypt, as her detention is arbitrary and it is merely aimed at punishing her for her human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Amal Fathyas well as against Mr. Mohamed Lotfy and all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

iv. In the meantime,ensure that all judicial proceedings brought against Ms. Amal Fathy are conducted in accordance with the right to a fair trial;

v. 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

vi. 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.


· President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441., 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:
· H.E. Mr. Amr Ramadan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email:, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
· Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email:

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

Geneva-Paris, May 12, 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, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail:
· 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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