Egypt: Ongoing arbitrary detention on remand of Ms. Amal Fathy

14/05/2018
Urgent Appeal

New information
EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059.1

Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Egypt
May 14, 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 ongoing arbitrary detention on remand of Ms. Amal Fathy, a woman human rights defender who is known for being vocal against human rights violations in Egypt, in particular the arbitrary detention of activists. Ms. Fathy is also the wife of Mr. Mohamed Lotfy, Executive Director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) and a former member of the now banned April 6th movement.

According to the information received, on May 13, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy was questioned by the High State Security Prosecution about the 6th April Movement, the ECRF and the activities of her husband. She was then placed under preventive detention for 15 additional days in the framework of Case No. 621 of 2018, under which she is facing new charges of “membership of an illegal organisation”, “using the Internet to disseminate ideas that seek to call for terrorist acts” and “broadcasting false news to disrupt public security and harm national interest”.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Ms. Amal Fathy, which seems to merely aim at punishing her for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities and/or those of her husband, Mr. Mohamed Lotfy. Indeed, 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 [1]. The raid on Mr. Mohamed Lotfy’s house and the arrest of his wife Amal Fathy actually took place one week before a visit by the Italian technical team to review video footage in connection with the 2016 torture and killing of the Italian researcher.

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

Background information:

On May 11, 2018, at around 2.30 am, Egyptian security forces broke into the house in Cairo of Ms. Amal Fathy and Mr. Mohamed Lotfy 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. Maadi Prosecutor subsequently placed Ms. Amal Fathy under preventive detention for 15 days in Case No. 7991 of 2018. She was accused of “broadcasting a video harming national security”, “posting a video inciting to overthrow the regime and spreading false rumors”, and “misusing social media”.

On May 12, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy was transferred to Qanater women’s prison.

On May 9, 2018, Ms. Amal Fathy posted 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.

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 Fathy as her detention is arbitrary and it is merely aimed at punishing her for her human rights activities as well as those of her husband;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Amal Fathy as 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. 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: nchr@nchr.org.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 14, 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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