Target: Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat, Public Prosecutor
Goal: Reverse the convictions of twenty men arrested and tried simply for their participation in a peaceful protest.
Following a drawn-out trial plagued by human rights violations, twenty men have been convicted of breaking Egypt’s Protest Law after they participated in a peaceful demonstration outside the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of parliament. They are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately. Sign the petition and demand that Egypt respect the rights of peaceful protesters.
One of the men arrested, Alaa Abd El Fattah, went on a hunger strike for three months to protest his arrest and treatment. Following a number of health concerns, his family says he is now on a “partial” hunger strike, Amnesty International reports.
El Fattah and another man, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, were both sentenced to five years of probation following their release from prison. The other men were sentenced to three. All the men were fined 100,000 Egyptian pounds (about $13,100 US).
The men’s convictions were all “trumped-up and politically motivated,” Amnesty International reports. Their trials were highly irregular and unfair: one hearing was rescheduled to be earlier without informing the defense of the change, and three of the defendants were arrested when they showed up.
Prosecuting peaceful protesters is not justice. Sign the petition and demand that Egypt reverse the convictions of the twenty men and commit to the fair trial standards set out in numerous international agreements.
I am writing to urge you to throw out the convictions of twenty men, including Ahmed Abdel Rahman and Alaa Abd El Fattah, who were arrested and tried as a result of their peaceful protest outside the Shura Council in November 2013. They are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs, and their trial was marked by numerous inconsistencies and injustices. They must be freed immediately.
The trial that resulted in the men’s convictions did not even come close to meeting international fair trial standards; one hearing was moved earlier without informing the defense of the change in schedule, and three of the defendants were arrested upon their arrival. The judges hearing the case later withdrew from it, but not before ordering the release of the three detained men. Instead, the second court to hear the case ordered the arrest of all twenty men, who remained imprisoned throughout their trial.
The charges against the men are widely recognized to be “trumped-up and politically motivated,” as Amnesty International puts it. I urge you to do what is both right and just by releasing the men immediately and reversing their convictions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fry1989 via Wikimedia Commons