UN human rights office urges Egypt to immediately release detained protestors

UN Multimedia OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Authorities in Egypt are being urged by the UN human rights office, OHCHR,  to immediately release scores of citizens who have been arrested in connection with recent anti-government demonstrations in several cities.

Civil society groups report more than 2,000 people were detained before, during and after the protests on 20 September, which prompted the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to express concern about reports of lack of due process.

On Friday her office reported that the arrests are continuing, with a number of well-known and respected civil society figures affected, some of whom have been accused of terrorism.

“Once again, we remind the Egyptian Government that under international law people have a right to protest peacefully, and a right to express their opinions, including on social media. They should never be arrested, detained – let alone charged with serious offences such as terrorism – simply for exercising those rights”, spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.

Prominent members of civil society detained

Ms. Shamdasani provided information about some of the detainees, who include Esraa Abdelfattah, a journalist and human rights defender based in the capital, Cairo, who was arrested on 12 October.

Plainclothes security officers took her to an undisclosed location where she reportedly was beaten for refusing to unlock her mobile phone. She was also allegedly forced to stand facing a wall for seven hours after her phone was unlocked through enforced use of her fingers or thumb, thus allowing it to be searched.

Ms. Abdelfattah appeared before a prosecutor the following day and was given 15 days’ detention pending investigation on charges that include collaborating with a terrorist organization and “defamation and the spread of false news”.

“We call on the Egyptian authorities to promptly and effectively investigate any allegations of torture or ill-treatment in detention and to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent such acts”, Ms. Shamdasani said.

Prominent blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah as well as his lawyer, Mohammed El-Baqer are currently being held at the Tora Maximum Security Prison, south of Cairo.

Both have been accused of belonging to a terrorist group, funding terrorism, spreading false news that undermines national security and “using social media to commit publishing offices”, the UN human rights office said.

Mr. Abdel Fattah has been arrested and jailed previously. He was released from prison in March 2019 after serving a five-year sentence for organizing a protest without permission and is required to spend each night in a prison cell.

Security forces arrested Mr. Abdel Fattah on 29 September when he reported to a Cairo police station to fulfill his probation conditions. He allegedly was blindfolded, forced to strip down to his underwear and walk down a prison corridor while being beaten on his back and neck.

Mr. El-Bager was arrested that same day while attending his client’s interrogation at the State Security Prosecution. Since that time, he allegedly has been subjected to physical and verbal abuse, in addition to being denied access to drinking water, sanitation and medical assistance.

“All those arrested and detained solely for exercising their rights, or lending legal assistance to others who have been arrested, should be released immediately,” Ms. Shamdasani stated.

OHCHR also called on the authorities to “promptly and effectively” investigate any allegations of torture or ill-treatment.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit: The Conservative Party drives the UK and Europe to a perilous road

3 ways we are making an impact on plastic pollution

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

7 innovative projects making cities more sustainable

The future of energy in Puerto Rico is renewable

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

5 facts you should know about the world’s refugees

5 ways to net a sustainable future for aquaculture

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Why the ECB prepares to flood the markets with more and free of charge euro; everybody needs that now

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

10 Downing street: Another desperate attempt to unite Britain on Brexit

COVID-19: MEPs debate how to best protect cross-border and seasonal workers

African economies sustain progress in domestic resource mobilisation

Cleantech innovation is being stifled. Here’s how to unlock it

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

It’s time we harnessed Big Data for good

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change, UN chief says in Bangkok

The migration crisis is slowly melting the entire EU edifice

Africa’s inspiring innovators show what the future could hold

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

EU on track to end use of chemicals harming the ozone layer

DiscoverEU: 20,000 more young people will explore Europe in 2020

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

4 simple ways to make your holiday season more sustainable

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

Coronavirus: Commission unveils EU vaccines strategy

4 ways sporting events are becoming more sustainable

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on State aid measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

One in three fish caught never gets eaten

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Building a stronger Europe: new initiatives to further boost role of youth, education and culture policies

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 April

COP24: green, gender focus, as UN’s crucial climate change conference gets underway

‘The best-selling brand today is fear’: UN chief highlights urgent need to address global ‘deficit of trust’

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

Here are 3 ways venture capital can fund a better future

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Here’s what I learned at Davos 2020

These countries are making ‘travel bubbles’ for post-lockdown tourism

It’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter

These countries have the most nuclear reactors

A clean energy future with hydrogen could be closer than we think

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

Quality coffee can boost local economies and benefit farmers – here’s how

Water pollution is killing millions of Indians. Here’s how technology and reliable data can change that

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s