Egypt

HRDs and journalists remain under threat

Despite some positive developments, journalists and HRDs remain under threat. While woman human rights defender and journalist Solafa Magdy and her husband Hossam Saiad were released from prison under precautionary measures, film editor Sanaa Seif was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment on charges of 'spreading false rumours about the spread of COVID-19 in the Egyptian prisons' and 'the misuse of social media'. Journalist Hassan al-Banna has forcibly disappeared after being detained by the National Security Agency upon his arrival at Cairo airport on 18th April 2021, following his deportation to the country by Jordanian authorities. In addition, 29-year-old student and researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy has been arbitrarily detained since 1st February 2021 on bogus terrorism-related charges.
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HRDs and journalists remain under threat

Restrictions in response to the exercise of fundamental freedoms continue

Restricted civic space and the worsening situation for human rights defenders continue in Egypt. While the three EIPR staff members, namely Gasser Abdel-Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Bashee were released, 7th February 2020 marks one year since the arrest of EIPR researcher and Bologna University student Patrick George Zaki. Graduate student Ahmed Samir Santawy was arrested on 1st February 2021, in relation to his research on women’s rights. In addition, the crackdown on freedom of expression continues. According to Reporters Without Borders, the number of journalists and bloggers detained in Egypt now stands at 33. In one case documented, freelance journalist Solafa Magdy was physically and sexually assaulted in police custody. Solafa and her husband were first arrested on 26th November 2019. Read more

Restrictions in response to the exercise of fundamental freedoms continue

Sisi government targets HRDs from prominent human rights organisation

Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) have been targeted by the authorities. Administrative manager, Mohammed Basheer; director of the criminal justice unit, Karim Ennarah and executive director Gasser Abdel Razek were all detained. In a separate development, several protests took place during September 2020 in villages, towns and some poorer remote areas in the country over COVID-19 and rising rates of poverty, amongst other issues. However, security forces used teargas, batons, birdshot and live ammunition to disperse the largely peaceful protests, with two people being killed and hundreds detained. In a further crackdown on expression, Egyptian authorities’ blocked at least 600 websites since May 2017 including media and political and human rights platforms. Read more

Sisi government targets HRDs from prominent human rights organisation

COVID-19, a pretext to further suppress freedom of expression and association

Since April 2017, Egypt has been under a state of emergency. The state of emergency has been constantly extended since then, with the latest extension on 8th May 2020 where the new amendments were ratified. These amendments were introduced as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak under health emergencies. However, human rights groups in Egypt have raised concerns, as they fear these amendments exploit COVID-19 in order to undermine judicial independence, expand the Military Prosecution’s jurisdiction to investigate civilians and give the President the power to authorise the Military Prosecution to investigate crimes that violate the Emergency Law (Article 4). In a separate development, the family of exiled civil society activist and Deputy Director of HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement, Mostafa Fouad, was continuously threatened. The arbitrary detention of journalists continued during the reporting period. In addition, a Guardian and New York Times reporter were censored by State Information Services for their reporting on the pandemic.

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COVID-19, a pretext to further suppress freedom of expression and association

Continued attacks on HRDs, journalists and activists through prosecutions

The Egyptian Parliament’s House of Representatives approved amendments to the "Terror Lists” Bill. This is a concern because the bill expands the list of terrorists entities to include TV channels, print media, radio stations and social media. Several organisations have highlighted that government is using the tactic of recycling or the arbitrary revival of cases against human rights defenders, journalists, political opponents and others perceived as critical of the them. In addition journalists continue to face detention and prosecution.
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Continued attacks on HRDs, journalists and activists through prosecutions

Detention as a systemic tool of suppression

Civic space is constantly under threat in Egypt- with laws to restrict NGOs, the detention of human rights defenders and attempts to intimiate the media. Read more

Detention as a systemic tool of suppression

Egypt: state of emergency extended, violations continue

As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, civil society leaders in Egypt have experienced a wave of aggression. In particular, the Executive Director of Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Gamal Eid continues to face a raft of measures designed to restrict his organisation's work. Read more

 Egypt: state of emergency extended, violations continue

Demonstrations in Egypt: arrests, social media blockage as a response

As previously covered by the CIVICUS Monitor, whereas the new NGO law is an additional concern for civic space in the country, the protests that have been taking place since 20th September 2019 raise further concerns regarding the human rights situation in Egypt, with arrests and use of excessive force documented against protesters. Read more

Demonstrations in Egypt: arrests, social media blockage as a response

Egypt parliament approved new draft NGO law - a continuation of state crack down on CSOs

On 15th July 2019 a new repressive NGO law, “The Law on Regulating the Work of Civil Associations”, was approved by the Egyptian parliament and sent to the President for approval. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has 30 days to review and if he ratifies, the legislation will come into effect. Read more

Egypt parliament approved new draft NGO law  - a continuation of state crack down on CSOs

Authoritarian constitutional amendments tighten Egypt’s iron grip on civic space

A national constitutional referendum held in Egypt during the period 20th and 22nd April 2019, approved constitutional amendments that could allow the President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030. In the lead-up to the referendum vote on the constitutional amendments, Egyptian authorities carried out “a campaign of intimidation, ongoing mass arrests and a deepening crackdown on fundamental freedoms” and “attempted to silence any opposition”. Read more

Authoritarian constitutional amendments tighten Egypt’s iron grip on civic space