Target: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt
Goal: Uphold the acquittal of seventeen people who witnessed the murder of a fellow activist.
On January 24, 2015, Egyptian activist and poet Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh was killed by security forces dispersing a peaceful rally. Seventeen witnesses to her death were recently acquitted of charges related to their participation in the protest, but the Public Prosecution has appealed the decision. Sign the petition and demand that authorities uphold the acquittal and respect citizens’ right to peacefully protest.
The witnesses were charged with “protesting illegally and disturbing public order,” Amnesty International reports. The appeal is seen as an attempt to vilify the witnesses and thus “shield security forces from accountability.” However, if the charges stick, each of the seventeen people involved could face up to five years in prison.
The force used to break up the rally at which Al-Sabbagh was killed was excessive; shots were fired, and Al-Sabbagh died from gunshot wounds. The activists involved in the protest were peacefully marching to Tahrir Square to commemorate those killed in the 2011 protests. Al-Sabbagh had been planning to lay a wreath of flowers there.
This unnecessary harassment of witnesses is clearly only a move intended to discredit their testimonies and muddy the waters when it comes to seeking justice for Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh. Sign the petition and urge Egyptian authorities to uphold the witnesses’ acquittal.
I am writing to urge you not to allow the acquittal of seventeen witnesses to the murder of Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh to be overturned. This move from the Public Prosecutor is clearly an attempt to discredit witnesses who might implicate security forces in the death of a peaceful civilian. Please ensure that justice is served; uphold the acquittal.
Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh was on her way to Tahrir Square to lay a wreath of flowers in memory of those who lost their lives there during the 2011 riots. As she and a group of about thirty others marched toward the square, security forces used excessive force in an attempt to break up the rally. Al-Sabbagh was shot dead before over a dozen witnesses.
The witnesses were recently acquitted of charges stemming from their connections to the protest, and the appeal of this acquittal is a clear attempt to vilify the protesters and make it difficult for them to testify against members of the security forces that may have been involved in Al-Sabbagh’s death.
I urge you to ensure that the path to justice is clear. Do not allow the acquittal to be overturned.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joe Gratz