un calls for release of human rights activists in egypt
Mary Lawlor, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at the UN, said yesterday that she is concerned about the prison sentences issued against lawyers and human rights activists in Egypt.
The Egyptian authorities have not responded to any of the detainees’ cases, and I ask them to release them all, Lawlor told Al Jazeera. “We are receiving complaints about bad conditions, torture, and physical abuse in Egyptian jails.”
How long have human rights activists been in prison in Egypt?
For a case dating back to 2018, the Emergency State Security Court sentenced activists from the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms to prison sentences ranging from five to 15 years on 5 March. Mohammad Abu Horayra and lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim were sentenced to 15 years in prison, while activist Aisha Khairat Al-Shater was sentenced to 10 years. Former member of the National Council for Human Rights Hoda Abdel Moneim was sentenced to five years in prison.
According to the Public Prosecution, the defendants were found guilty of joining a terrorist cell and planning hostile crimes. Members of the alleged “cell” were charged with financing terrorism, possessing firearms, planning hostile operations, and exchanging information through communication sites.
Upon approval by the President of the Republic, the court’s rulings are considered final. There is no appeal or any other litigation stage beyond this one. Human rights activists, lawyers, and local human rights organizations have condemned the court’s decision wisely.