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APC condemns arbitrary detention of women human rights defenders in Egypt
(25 June 2014) APC denounces the arrests of 23 protestors and human rights defenders in Egypt, including the arrest of Yara Sallam, long-time APC partner and human rights advocate.
On 21 June 2014, 23 protestors, including eight women human rights defenders, were arrested for protesting peacefully against the Protest and Public Assembly Law in Heliopolis, Cairo, after being dispersed by the police using tear gas and bird shots. Two days later, on 23 June, the prosecution renewed the detention of the 23 protesters for four days. The women have now been moved to Qanatir Prison, and the prosecution has referred the case to the Misdemeanor Court of Masr El Gedida. The first court session is set for Sunday 29 June 2014.
These arrests come days after the conviction of prominent activist and APC partner Alaa Abd El Fattah, as well as Al Jazeera journalists. Since the introduction of the protest law in November, there have been a string of actions aimed at silencing dissent in Egypt.
Sanaa Seif was among the women human rights defenders arrested on 21 June. She is the sister of Alaa Abd El Fattah, who in June was sentenced to 15 years in prison for violating the Protest and Public Assembly Law. On 22 May, an Egyptian court upheld the sentence of Mahienour El-Massry, a prominent women’s human rights defender, on charges of organising a protest.
APC is deeply concerned about the targeting of Egyptian human rights defenders with the Protest and Public Assembly Law, and the deteriorating state of freedoms in Egypt.
We fully support the following call from Nazra for Feminist Studies to the Egyptian authorities:
1. Drop all charges directed at the women human rights defenders and put into effect their immediate and unconditional release.
2. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all the aforementioned women human rights defenders.
3. Cease the harassment and persecution of human rights defenders and ensure that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities, free from persecution, arbitrary arrest, judicial harassment and physical violence.
4. Ensure that the Protest and Public Assembly Law is revised to be fully compliant with relevant international standards and the newly passed Egyptian constitution.
5. Guarantee the right of women human rights defenders to engage in human rights work and take measures to ensure their protection before the law and in society.
6.Quash the convictions of other human rights defenders that are based on the Protest and Public Assembly Law and drop all charges stemming from the legitimate exercise of the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is a worldwide network supporting the use of the internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for social justice.