Egypt: Raid of the headquarters of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and arrest of six of its members

20/12/2013
Urgent Appeal

EGY 003 / 1213 / OBS 099
Arbitrary arrest and detention /
Ill-treatments
Egypt
December 20, 2013

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the raid of the headquarters of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and the arrest and detention of Mr. Moustafa Eissa, Head of ECESR Documentaries Unit, Mr. Mahmoud Belal, ECESR lawyer, and four ECESR volunteers - Mr. Hosam Mohamed Nasr, Mr. El Sayed Mahmoud El Sayed, and Mr. Sherif Ashour and Mr. Mohamed Adel, also a member of the April 6th Youth Movement, an Egyptian activist group established in Spring 2008 to support the workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, an industrial town, who were planning to strike on April 6 [1].

According to the information received, shortly before midnight on December 18, 2013, more than 60 heavily armed operatives of Azbakeya and Abdin police stations and the Homeland Security Agency stormed the headquarters of the ECESR in Cairo. Without any search or arrest warrants, they brutally manhandled then arrested the six individuals, ransacked the premises, and confiscated computer hardware. The six were working on a documentary about the ongoing strike by the Iron and Steel Workers’ Union, in preparation for its screening at a press conference the following day.

All of them, with the exception of Mr. Mohamed Adel, were released the following morning and the computers returned to them. They were reportedly beaten several times during their detention. Mr. Mohamed Adel remains held in detention at an unknown location. Mr. Adel is standing trial along with Mr. Ahmed Maher, another leader of the April 6th Youth Movement, and Mr. Ahmed Douma, on charges of violating the new law restricting protests and demonstrations.

The Observatory denounces a new escalation in the harassment targeting human rights defenders by the Egyptian authorities and notes that crackdowns of this kind are not unprecedented but the resumption of a condemnable pattern of annual year-end raids of the offices of national and international NGOs.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mohamed Adel and all human rights defenders in Egypt;

ii. Release Mr. Mohamed Adel and all human rights defenders currently in detention immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to only aim at curtailing their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Mohamed Adel and all human rights defenders in Egypt;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with:
- its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- and its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration” ;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Egypt.

Addresses:

· President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Adly Mansour, Abedine Palace, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: webmaster@presidency.gov.eg, Fax: +202 23901998
· Prime Minister Mr. Hazem El Biblawi, Magles El Shaab Street, Kasr El Aini Street, Cairo, Egypt. Fax: + 202 2735 6449 / 27958016. Email: primemin@idsc.gov.eg
· Minister of the Interior, General Mohamed Ibrahim, Ministry of the Interior, El-Sheikh Rihan Street, Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: moi1@idsc.gov.eg, Fax: +202 2579 2031 / 2794 5529
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Adel Abdel Hamid, Ministry of Justice, Magles El Saeb Street, Wezaret Al Adl, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: mojeb@idsc.gov.eg, Fax: +202 2795 8103
· Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Hisham Barakat Dar al-Qadha al-Ali, Ramses Street, Cairo, Egypt, Fax: +202 2577 4716
· National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670
· H.E. Ms. Wafaa Bassim, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, 49 avenue Blanc, 1202 Genève, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
· Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, 19 avenue de l’Uruguay, 1000 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.

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