Tantawi Arrested in Court to Serve a Prison Sentence for Challenging President Sisi in 2023 Elections

Date : Wednesday, 29 May, 2024

On 27 May, an Egyptian Court of Appeals upheld a February 2024 sentence issued
by the Matareya Misdemeanors Court against Ahmed al-Tantawi and 22 of his
supporters to one year in prison. The Court of Appeals verdict also upholds a five-
year ban on Tantawi from running in elections. Tantawi was arrested in court to
serve the sentence.
As Egypt faces gross mismanagement of its economy and the authorities’ inability to
fulfill basic functions such provision of health services or a steady supply of
electricity, Egyptian authorities regularly ensure that no political alternative can
organize, develop, and present a challenge to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule.
The decision to uphold the sentence further confirms the warnings repeatedly voiced
by our organizations that Egyptian authorities’ promises of political reform are
insincere and only seek to placate criticism of their human rights record. Political
activity remains effectively outlawed.
In February 2024, under Case no. 16336, Tantawi and his campaign manager
Mohamed Abo al-Diyar were convicted of inciting others to influence the conduct of
the electoral process through the provision, printing, and circulation of electoral
process papers without the permission of competent authorities. The 21 other
members of Tantawi’s campaign were convicted of printing and circulating electoral
papers without permission.
The case was opened in reaction to Tantawi’s call in October 2023 for his supporters
to fill out popular endorsement forms for his presidential bid, given the restrictions
they faced in registering their endorsements at public notary offices, thereby illegally
barring him from running. In a violation of the right of Tantawi and members of his
campaign to a fair trial, authorities did not allow their lawyers to obtain the official
case files.
Over the course of his presidential campaign and the months that followed, over 194
Tantawi supporters and members of his campaign were detained by Egyptian
authorities, and some faced unfounded terrorism charges.
The court’s decision confirms that any independent attempt to challenge President
Sisi’s hold on power will be met with decisive retaliation. Tantawi joins a list of other
former presidential candidates who were imprisoned or put under house arrest for
challenging Sisi in the 2018 elections.

Signatory Organizations

  •  Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  •  Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  • Committee for Justice
  • El Nadeem Center
  • Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  • Egyptian Front for Human Rights
  • Sinai Foundation for Human Rights

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