Target: Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat, Public Prosecutor
Goal: Ensure the immediate release of just over two dozen protesters jailed only for peacefully expressing their political beliefs
A recent protest in Cairo has led to the unlawful detention of twenty-five men who took part in a peaceful protest outside the building of the Shura Council, the upper house of the Egyptian Parliament. The men’s detentions are almost certainly motivated solely by opposition to their political beliefs. Sign the petition and demand that the men be released immediately.
Egypt is no stranger to political turmoil or to the impassioned protests that often accompany it. Unfortunately, Egypt’s ample experience with political protests has done little to improve the state’s official reactions to them. The recent protest outside the Shura Council sparked dozens of arrests. Twenty-five men remain in custody, while “female protesters, journalists and lawyers” were also arrested, although they were “[released] without charge hours later.” Amnesty International received reports that the arrested women were simply dropped off on a desert road outside Cairo at 1 am following their release, and many of the women reported being sexually harassed, beaten, and dragged around.
The male protesters, who remain in detention, have not fared much better. One example is Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was arrested at his home without a warrant. Following his arrest, his wife posted pictures of blood stains in their bedroom as a result of Fattah’s treatment at the hands of the police. She herself reported being slapped by an officer. The couple’s phones and computers were confiscated. Fattah has been taken to a Central Security Forces camp outside Cairo. The camp is not an official detention center.
Other male prisoners have reportedly been tortured, and their detention has been extended–still without charge–for at least fifteen more days. Their lawyers have withdrawn from proceedings in protest, and the prisoners themselves have initiated a hunger strike. The situation is clearly dire. Sign the petition and add your voice to those calling for an end to human rights abuses in Egypt.
I was greatly disturbed to hear of the recent arrests of twenty-five men who took part in the peaceful protest outside of the Shura Council on November 26, 2013. I believe the men are prisoners of conscience, jailed solely on the basis of their opposing political beliefs and not on any actual wrongdoing, and I demand that as such they be released immediately.
The treatment that the twenty-five detained men have faced is appalling. Multiple prisoners have reported being tortured. The wife of one prisoner, Alaa Abdel Fattah, posted pictures of blood stains in the couple’s bedroom to social media following her husband’s arrest. She also reported being slapped by an officer. There was no arrest warrant issued, and Fattah has not yet been charged with a crime. The prisoners’ lawyers have withdrawn from the proceedings in protest, and the prisoners have launched a hunger strike. There is much at stake here. The Egyptian government does not want the blood of two dozen wrongfully arrested men on its hands.
I therefore demand the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience in Egypt. Furthermore, I demand that, pending their release, all prisoners have access to adequate legal representation, are allowed contact with their families, are provided with food, water, and medical care, and are guaranteed safety from torture and ill-treatment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mariam Soliman via Wikimedia Commons