Egypt: Mozn Hassan, Nazra for Feminist studies Executive Director summoned

20/06/2018
Urgent Appeal

New information
EGY 004 / 0616 / OBS 049.10

Judicial harassment /
Summoning
Egypt
June 20, 2018

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the summoning of Ms. Mozn Hassan, woman human rights defender and founder and Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist studies [1].

According to the information received, on June 18, 2018, Ms. Mozn Hassan was summoned by the investigative judge of the Cairo Court in Fifth Settlement District, in relation with criminal case No. 173/2011 on Foreign Funding [2]. She will appear in front of the court on June 20, 2018.

Ms. Hassan faces possible charges of “establishing an entity in violation of the NGO law”, tax evasion, and “receiving foreign funds with the intention of harming national security”, according to which she could be sentenced to life imprisonment, under article 78 (a) of the Egyptian Criminal Code.

The Observatory recalls that case No. 173/2011 was reopened against Ms. Mozn Hassan in March 2016 and that her assets as well as the assets of her organization have been frozen by the court on January 11, 2017 (see background information). Prior to this summoning, Ms. Mozn Hassan was summoned for investigation on March 22, 2016 but her interrogation was postponed indefinitely until June 18, 2018. Furthermore, Ms. Hassan is currently subjected to a travel ban, in relation to the same case and to charges of “inciting and calling for the irresponsible liberation of women”.

The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing judicial harassment against Ms. Mozn Hassan, which only aims at silencing her peaceful and legitimate activities in defense of women human rights. The Observatory is particularly concerned as Ms. Mozn Hassan’s summoning comes amidst an unprecedented crackdown on civil society in Egypt, in which three human rights defenders have already been arrested since May 11, 2018 [3].

The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Mozn Hassan and all human rights defenders in Egypt.

Background information:

Since 2011, the Egyptian Government has launched a judicial harassment campaign against civil society organisations on the pretext that they received unauthorised foreign funding under criminal case No. 173/2011, known as the “foreign funding case against NGOs”.

The 2011 Government Fact-Finding Committee report, which formed the basis of the first trial in 2012, listed 37 NGOs who could be targeted under this “foreign funding case against NGOs”. That list included ACIJLP, CIHRS, LCHR, the Egyptian Democratic Academy (EDA), HMLC, ANHRI, EIPR, El Nadim Center for the Management and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), the Arab Penal Reform Organization, the Egyptian Center for the Right to Education, El-Haq, the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement (ACPE), Nazra for Feminist Studies, the Appropriate Communications Technologies (ACT), among others.

On March 22, 2016, Ms. Mozn Hassan was summoned to appear before New Cairo Court in relation to criminal case No. 173/2011, together with two other members of her association. On March 29, 2016, the judge notified their lawyers that he would have specified an appointment for them to review the case papers and that he would then have summoned Ms. Hassan for another day.

On June 27, 2016 Ms. Mozn Hassan was informed by authorities at the Cairo International Airport that a travel ban had been imposed on her, under the framework of the “NGO Foreign Funding Case”. Ms. Mozn Hassan had attempted to travel to participate in the Executive Committee meeting of the Women Human Right Defenders (WHRD) Regional Coalition for the Middle East and North Africa, taking place during the period of June 27 to July 1, 2016.

On December 12, 2016, the investigative judge requested the North Cairo Court to freeze the assets of Ms. Mozn Hassan, Founder and Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, as well as the assets of her organisations. On January 11, 2017 the North Cairo Elementary Court accepted his request and froze Ms. Hassan’s personal assets and those of her association.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Mozn Hassan and all human rights defenders in Egypt;
  1. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Mozn Hassan and all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;
  1. Immediately and unconditionally lift the assets freezes against the defenders and organisations mentioned in this appeal, as well as against all the other human rights defenders and organisations in Egypt, within the case No. 173/2011;
  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of movement and association of human rights defenders, by immediately and unconditionally lifting all travel bans and assets freeze imposed against them, as they aim only at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
  1. 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 and 12.2; and
  1. 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. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg
• Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103 

• Minister of Social Solidarity, Mrs. Ghada Wali, Tel: +202 333 75420
• Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
• Head of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email: humanrightscomplaints@parliament.gov.eg
• Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg
• H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@bluewin.ch
• 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, June 20, 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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