EGY 002 / 0516 / OBS 042.2
Travel ban / Judicial harassment /
Restrictions to freedom of association
January 27, 2017
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.
According to the information received, on January 26, 2016, the airport authorities prevented Mr. Negad El-Borai from boarding his flight to Jordan at Cairo International Airport, pursuant to a travel ban issued by an investigating magistrate and the General Prosecutor within the framework of a criminal investigation under case No. 173/2011, known as the “foreign funding case against NGOs”.
The Observatory strongly condemns the increasing use of travel bans against defenders in Egypt in the past few months(2), which clearly aim at restricting their legitimate human rights activities.
The Observatory would like to recall that Mr. Negad El-Borai is also the subject of another criminal investigation, together with Judge Hesham Raouf and Judge Assem Abdel Gabar, for drafting and submitting to the President an abill to combat torture (see background information).
The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Mr. Negad El-Borai and put an end to all acts of harassment against him as well as against all other human rights defenders in the country.
In March 2015, the High Judicial Council filed a complaint against Mr. Negad El-Borai for drafting an anti-torture bill, organising a workshop to discuss it, and advocating before the Egyptian authorities for its adoption.
On May 21, 2015, Mr. Negad El-Borai was interrogated by an investigative judge in North Giza Court for drafting an anti-torture bill.
On March 3, 2016, Mr. El-Borai was interrogated for the fourth time by an investigative judge for drafting an anti-torture bill. Subsequently, he was arrested, then released from custody on his guarantee of residence, and charged with “establishing an unlicensed entity with the intent of inciting resistancewards to the authorities”, “implementing human rights activities without a license”, “deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest” and “receiving funds from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC)”.
On April 6, 2016, United Group submitted its draft anti-torture bill to the House of Representatives’ Speaker, calling for its adoption.
On May 17, 2016, Mr. Negad El-Borai was summoned for the fifth time before an investigative judge.
On June 5, 2016, Mr. El-Borai was again called for an investigation session, during which the investigative judge confronted his testimony with the statement made by the National Security officer. The officer stated that Mr. El-Borai had “received funds from foreign organisations to bring down the State and attract youth to establish political movements in order to turn public opinion against the State using methods of “non-violence”. He added that Mr. El-Borai “gives statements to the media that turn public opinion against the State inside and outside the country using the indirect methods of the “minds revolution” that causes its fall.
Moreover, Judge Hesham Raouf, who sits at Cairo’s Appeal Court and former Justice Minister’s assistant, and Judge Assem Abdel Gabar, have also been targeted for participating in the drafting of the Anti-Torture Bill. On November 12, 2016, Judge Abdulshafy Othman summoned Judge Hesham Raouf for an interrogation regarding the drafting of the Anti-Torture Bill.
Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:
i. Immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Mr. Negad El-Borai;
ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Judge Hesham Raouf, Negad El-Borai, and Judge Assem Abdel Gabar and in general against all human rights defenders in Egypt, when they only aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b) and 12.2;
iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Egypt.
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441, Email: email@example.com, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
Prime Minister, Mr. Sherif Ismail. Fax: + 202 2735 6449 / 27958016. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister of the Interior, Mr. Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar, E-mail: HumanRightsSector@moi.gov.eg, Fax: +202 2579 2031 / 2794 5529
Minister of Justice, Mr. 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: email@example.com
H.E. Ms. Wafaa Bassim, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.
Geneva-Paris, January 27, 2017
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.
(1) The United Group is an Egyptian law firm established 50 years ago, which also works on model legislation to improve the respect of human rights standards.
(2) At least 15 cases have been reported to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. See UN Special Rapporteurs Statement, November 24, 2016: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20924&LangID=E. See also the Observatory Urgent Appeals EGY 005 / 1116 / OBS 102 issued on November 24, 2016, and EGY 004 / 1116 / OBS 101 issued on November 22, 2016, as well as the joint statement of the Observatory issued on November 9, 2016.