EGYPT: Arrest of lawyer and human rights defender Amr Imam
On October 16th, 2019, lawyer Amr Imam was arrested by the police at his home. This arrest comes after the lawyer announced his intention to start a hunger strike as a sign of protest against the almost daily illegal arrests of human rights defenders and police abuses.
Police forces prohibited him from calling his lawyer or family members and his place of detention remained secret for 24 hours.
On October 17th, 2019, Amr Imam appeared before the State Security Prosecutor’s Office and was assigned to case 488/2019 for “collaboration with a terrorist organization”, “dissemination of false news” and “misuse of one of the social network tools”. The Prosecutor has ordered a 15-day pre-trial detention, but he is still being held in Tora Al-Mazraa prison, where family visits and access to a lawyer are strictly limited.
In the context of the widespread repression of human rights defenders, the Egyptian authorities arbitrarily detained at least 16 lawyers in the exercise of their functions, including Haysam Mohamadann, Ziad el Alimy, Mohamed El Baker (Director of the Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms). Lawyers Esraa Abdel Fattah and Mahinour el-Masry are being prosecuted in the same case No. 488/2019.
The OIAD expresses its deep concern about the serious threats faced by lawyers in Egypt.
The OIAD urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately release lawyer Amr Imam and has dropped all charges against him, including under Principle 23 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted by the United Nations (1990):
“Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights (…)”.
The OIAD joins the call of the UN Special Rapporteurs to call on the Egyptian authorities to respect the right of Egyptian citizens to freedom of expression, assembly and association.
The OIAD joins the call launched by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a partnership between the International Federation for Human Rights, FIDH, and the World Organisation Against Torture, OMCT):
Please write to the authorities in Egypt, urging them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Messrs. Gamal Eid and Amr Imam as well as of all human rights defenders in Egypt;
- Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the above-mentioned events in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;
- Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Amr Imam, as his detention is arbitrary as it seems only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Gamal Eid and Amr Imam and all human rights defenders in Egypt and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;
- Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;
- Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.
- President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email: email@example.com, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
- Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email: email@example.com
- Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103
- Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
- Head of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council for Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: email@example.com
- H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.