Target: Nabil Sadek, Public Prosecutor
Goal: Free activist detained for exercising his right to peaceful freedom of expression.
Egyptian security forces have detained the head of the Egyptian Commission of Rights and Freedoms. He is facing trumped up charges based on the country’s draconian anti-terror laws. Dr. Ahmed Abdullah was arrested at his home and allegedly ill-treated by security forces. His poor treatment has continued and his lawyers have been denied access to his case file, making it impossible for them to prepare his defense. Representatives of Dr. Abdullah claim that the charges are a response to him providing aid to the family of Giulio Regeni, an Italian student who was found murdered earlier this year, as well as investigating forced disappearances in the country. If convicted, Dr. Abdullah will face life in prison.
Since the coup that ousted President Morsi, there has been a marked deterioration of respect for rights and freedoms in Egypt. Journalists have faced censorship, violence, and jail time for their work, and protesters have been beaten, tortured, and jailed. The government and military of Egypt have used the term “terrorist” as a means to target their political opponents. Further, they have sought to legitimize violations of rights and freedoms by invoking security concerns. Mass trials have become common, and pretrial detention can last for years.
While Egypt faces very real security concerns, the anti-terror laws amount to empowering a government to suppress all criticism. Therefore, individuals involved in matters that the government views as potentially threatening to its political dominance have been subject to campaigns of harassment. Sign our petition and demand the release of Dr. Ahmed Abdullah, and that his lawyers be given access to his case file.
I was alarmed to hear of the extension of the pretrial detention of Dr. Ahmed Abdullah, head of the Egyptian Commission of Rights and Freedoms. He is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for his work on the Giulio Regeni case. Furthermore, I find it disturbing that his lawyers have not been given access to his case file. I urge you to secure Dr. Abdullah’s release and to provide his lawyers access to the materials they need to provide an effective defense. If convicted, he faces a life sentence; it is a gross violation of his rights for him to be denied effective legal representation.
Egypt has duty to protect human rights advocates, and a duty to independently investigate any allegations of mistreatment. During his arrest and detention, Dr. Ahmed Abdullah claimed that he was mistreated by the forces that took him into and held him in custody. I urge you to open an independent investigation into this matter and bring those responsible to justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Barnellbe