By Coptic Solidarity – Nov. 20, 2020, for immediate release –
Coptic Solidarity joins the numerous NGOs, foreign governments, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and individuals demanding the immediate release and dropping of all false charges against three staff members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, (EIPR) who were all arrested by the Egyptian government within the past week.
The EIPR staff members arrested are Gasser Abdel Razek, Executive Director; Karim Ennarah, Head of Criminal Justice Unit; Mohamed Basheer, Administrative Director. All were charged under Case 855/2020 with similar charges such as joining a terrorist group, publishing false news that undermines public safety, and using an online account to spread false news, and all have been sentenced to 15 days, pre-trial detention.
These arrests signify a greater boldness—if not recklessness—by the el-Sisi government to silence and imprison all he deems a threat to his power. EIPR is one of the few remaining NGOs that has provided critical documentation of human rights abuses in Egypt in several key areas including the Egyptian judiciary, minority rights, use of the death penalty, and many other important initiatives.
If these latest arrests go unchallenged by key partners and donor countries, it will only embolden the el- Sisi administration to obliterate any vestiges of human rights NGOs and imprisoned activists remaining in Egypt.
Mr. Razek reported to Mada Masr that the arrest of Mr. Basheer was in direct retaliation for a publicly announced meeting that EGIPR held on November 3, 2020 with 13 European Ambassadors and Diplomats and the European Commission to discuss the human rights situation in Egypt. The Egyptian governments retaliatory response to EIPR further highlights the complete oppression of human rights activists and organizations in Egypt and serves as warning to others daring to speak out against the Egyptian government’s abuse of power.
Coptic Solidarity urges immediate actions by the United States and European countries to pressure the Egyptian Government into releasing the imprisoned EIPR staff and end its policies of harassing human rights advocates and muzzling dissenting opinions.
Coptic Solidarity is an organization seeking to help minorities, particularly the Copts, of Egypt. We support those in Egypt working for democracy, freedom, and the protection of the fundamental rights of all Egyptian citizens, and advocate in cooperation with the affiliated organizations in Canada and in Europe (Solidarité Copte). For more information, contact Lindsay Griffin at 801-512-1713 or firstname.lastname@example.org