Continuous targeting of human rights defenders in Egypt; witnesses become defendants

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Due to the continuous crackdown on human rights defenders, the undersigning human rights organizations and institutions and individualsexpress their astonishment and shock about the accusations that were charged by Qasr El Nile prosecution office in Egypt to a number of witnesses who willingly testified on the killing of Shaimaa El Sabbagh. El Sabbagh, who isamember of the Socialist People’s Alliance Party was killed during the violent and brutal dispersal of a peaceful memorial event.

The event was organized by members of the Socialist People’s Alliance Party on 24 January 2015 to commemorate peaceful protestors who lost their lives during the January 25th, 2011 Revolution. The witnesses were accused of protesting illegally, breaching the public order and infringing public security according to Law No: 107, for the year 2013 known as the Anti- Protest Law. 17 persons were charged based on these alleged accusations and they are: Ms. AzzaSoliman, a lawyer in the Cassation Court and President of Board of Trustees of Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) and as well as one if its founding members, MrMosatafa Abdel Al, a member of Bread and Freedom Party (under establishment), Dr. Maher Shaker, and 14 members of the Socialist People’s Alliance Party (Mr. TalaatFahmy – Mr. Zohdi El Shami – Mr. Elhami El Merghani – Ms. Nagwa Abbas – Mr. Adel Meligi – Mr. Mohamed Salah – Mr. Khaled Mostafa – Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mahmoud – Mr. Ahmed Fathy Nasr) are also on trial based on the same charges. Charges pertaining to Shaimaa El Sabbagh were dropped due to her death. The first court session is to take place on April 4th, 2015.

In an escalation move rejected by the undersigning Human rights organizations and individuals, the Prosecutor’s Office decided to transfer Ms. AzzaSoliman from the list of witnesses in the case of the Shaimaa El Sabbagh to the list of defendants.  AzzaSoliman was in a restaurant close to where Sabbagh was murdered and she published her testimony on her Facebook account after providing it to the Prosecutor’s office. Moreover, Mr. Mostafa Abdel Al and Dr. Maher Shaker who were in a café nearby and tried to help and save El Sabbaghwere arrested and transferred into the defendants’ list after testifying.This escalation is a direct violation ofthe Egyptian constitution, which grants immunity to witnesses and requires witness protection. The accusations reflect the continuing security lockdown on human rights defenders, who exercise their right to freedom of expression and expose grave human rights violations.

The undersigned organizations and individuals call upon the Egyptian government to abide by its national human rights obligations and immediately drop all charges against Ms. AzzaSoliman and other witnesses.The Egyptian government must also drop all charges against members of the Socialist People’s Alliance Party as the Protest Law, with which they are charged, is constitutionally challenged.Participating to a peaceful demonstration is a fundamental human right which is guaranteed byinternational and regional human rights treaties. We call upon the Egyptian authorities to respect and protect the right to freedom of assembly and ensure protection of witnesses and human rights defenders.


Entities and organizations:

  • Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA)
  • New Woman foundation.
  • El-Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
  • Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
  • Nazra for Feminist studies
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  • Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
  • Women and Memory Forum
  • Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR)
  • The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
  • ACT
  • Cairo Center for Development (CCD)
  • Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies
  • The Egyptian Foundation for the societal engagement.
  • The Egyptian Coalition on Children’s rights.
  • Egyptian Foundation For Advancement Of Childhood Conditions(EFACC)
  • Forum for Women in Development
  • Egyptian Women Union
  • United group
  • Fouada Watch
  • I saw harassment (ShoftTaharoush)
  • BaheyaYaMasr
  • Egyptian Popular Current
  • Bread and Freedom Party (under establishment)
  • Arab Office for Law (AOL)
  • The National NGOs Center for Population and Development (NCPD)
  • Forum of Dialogue and Partnership for Development (FDPD)
  • Land Center for Human Rights (LCHR)
  • Bashayer – Helwan foundation for societal development
  • One world foundation
  • Tawafuq Center for legal aid, training, and development
  • MalahHefniNasef foundation for humanitarian development
  • Al Mahrousa Center for economic and social development
  • Lawyers for Justice
  • Egyptian Center for justice and legal studies
  • Bent Al Ard foundation
  • Female Egyptian Lawyers initiative
  • Female Egyptian Lawyers and steps towards the future
  • The Nile Center for Studies and Researches
  • The National Union for legal independence
  • Egyptians against religious discrimination
  • The Egyptian foundation for family development
  • National Community for Human Rights and Law (NCHRL)
  • Egyptian Association for Comprehensive Development (EACD)
  • The Arab Awareness Center for rights and law
  • Media personnel association
  • The legal foundation for family support and Human Rights
  • The Egyptian Foundation for Economic and Social Rights
  • Omy foundation for Rights and Development
  • Our Dream foundation for comprehensive development in Al Khosous
  • Female future leaders foundations in Al Saff
  • Female leaders foundation for development and environment in Qaliobya /Shubra Al Khaima
  • Feminist renaissance foundation in Dossami
  • Message of Light foundation for Women’s Development in Minya
  • “Al Dameer” foundation for humanitarian rights in Mansoura
  • Women Center for legal support and awareness in Mansoura
  • Badr Al Tawayel Foundation for societal development in Sohag



  • Dr Samir Elish – Diresctor of The National NGOs Center for Population and Development (NCPD)
  • George Isaac – National Council of Human Rights’ member
  • RagiaOmran – Lawyer and National Council of Human Rights’ member
  • Negad Al Borai’ – Lawyer in the Cassation court and Director of United Group
  • FaridZahran – Vice president of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party
  • MounirMogahed – Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination
  • NawlaDarwish – Activist
  • Amal Abdel Hady – Feminist and Activist
  • Rae’dSalama – American Institute of CPAs fellow
  • Yasser Abdel Gawad – Director of Arab Office for Law (AOL)
  • Khaled Daoud – Al Doustor Party’s Media Spokesperson
  • Instar Al Said – Lawyer and Director of CCD
  • MervatAbouTeeg – Executive director of Omi foundation
  • SherifGamal – ED of CEWLA
  • Seham Ali – Lawyer and ED of CEWLA
  • Noha Ali – Interpreter
  • Noura Mohamed – Lawyer
  • Salah El Saman – Lawyer in the Cassation Court
  • Dalia AL Aswad – Al Dostour Party Member
  • LamiaaLotfy – Feminist and activist
  • Gawaher El Taher – Lawyer and Activist
  • Magda Soliman – Societal development Unit Head at CEWLA
  • ImanDarwish
  • MagedSorour – Director of One World Foundation
  • Abeer Ali – Lawyer
  • AmalFahmy
  • Ahmed Hussein Mahmoud – Lawyer
  • Amira Abdel Hakim – Lawyer
  • InasIbraimKamel – Lawyer
  • Mona Ezzat – Journalist
  • KhadigaGaber – Lawyer at the appeal court
  • Nada Nashat – coordinator at CEWLA
  • Mohamed El Aggaty – Political Science Researcher
  • AkramIslamil – Engineer
  • ElhamEidEndraous – interpreter
  • ManalFathy – Lawyer
  • Mofeed Halim
  • Ahmed Abou El Magd – Lawyer
  • ZeinabKhair – Lawyer
  • Mai Khaled El Bahy
  • IhabOmran – Chanel 8
  • Mohamed Omar – Lawyer at the appeal court
  • Reda Al Danbouki – Lawyer, Mansoura
  • Mohamed El Gebaly




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