UN Experts Seek Immediate, Unconditional Release Of Arrested Activists

A group of UN independent human rights experts have called on Egyptian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release some human rights activists allegedly arrested on terrorism and public security charges.

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) alleged that they were arrested for discussing human rights issues with foreign ambassadors.

The activists, who are members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), were arrested days after meeting with 13 foreign ambassadors and diplomats on 3 November.

“It is absolutely abhorrent to retaliate against human rights defenders from one of Egypt’s last functioning human rights NGOs, simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression by discussing Egypt’s human rights situation,” the UN experts said in a statement on Friday.

“These arrests underline the very grave risks human rights defenders face in Egypt every day while carrying out their legitimate work … They are only the latest steps in an escalating campaign against EIPR and are part of a broader move to limit civic space and target those who operate within it,” they added.

Your Friends Also Read:  Post-Wits Protests: South African Universities Agree to Keep Fees "Reasonable"

The arrested EIPR officials include Executive Director Gasser Abdel Razek; director of criminal justice Karim Ennarah; and administrative manager Mohammad Basheer.

According to the statement, authorities have targeted the human rights NGO since 2016, when the bank accounts of former EIPR director and founder Hossam Bahgat were frozen and he was banned from leaving the country.

In February 2020, EIPR’s gender rights researcher, Patrick Zaki, was arrested and remains in pre-trial detention on charges relating to terrorism and incitement.

All four men are being held in the Tora prison complex, just south of capital Cairo, with concerning reports that at least one of them is being held in solitary confinement.

Your Friends Also Read:  EU Condemns Eritrea’s Reported Offensive In Tigray

The experts called for charges against all four defenders to be dropped, for them to be released immediately and unconditionally, and for authorities to cease targeting Mr. Bahgat and EIPR.

“We deeply regret that despite several calls from the United Nations human rights mechanisms and the international community, Egypt continues to use counter-terrorism legislation to target civil society,” the experts added.

In the statement, the UN rights experts also underscored that vilification of human rights defenders as a threat to society is not only harmful to the defenders, but to all members of Egyptian society.

“Criminalizing those who defend human rights – and those who bring to light violations of human rights – undermines the sanctity of those rights,” they said.

Your Friends Also Read:  Prominient Nigerian Businessman, Harry Akande, Dies At 77

“Human rights defenders and civil society activists must never be penalized for their efforts to ensure the protection of the rights of others … These efforts must not be regarded as terrorism or a public threat. Quite the opposite: We should protect and value them for their contributions.”

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.

Contact: digital@newscentral.ng


Leave a Reply

Previous Article

Zimbabwe President in Botswana for Troika Meeting

Next Article

Central Bank of Kenya Maintains Rate At 7%

Related Posts
Powered by Live Score & Live Score App